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Full text of "Omni Magazine (December 1979)"


DECEMBER 1979 $2.C 






■ ■-. ■;...,.■■■■■/ ■ ■ .3QFWFran-;Hi&nr 










Cover art for this month's Omni 
is a painting in acrylic entitled 
Uranus from Umbreil, painted 
by space must David Eggs in 
■'577 Egge, inspired by L'jdek 
Pose* and tGugW by Ron Miiicr 
calls himself the first space 
artist born in the space age 
(b. 8/&5B). 






Rawleigh Warner, Jr, 













Kenneth B rower 




Mark R. Chartrand III 




Bernard Dixon 



The Arts 

James Delson 



The Arts 

Bibi Wein 




Robert Anton Wilson 



Data Bank 




Dava Sobel 




Eric Rosen 




Spider Robinson 




Daniel S. Greenberg 




Gene Wolfe 




Claire Warga 




Philip Dunn 




Dean Ing 




Scot Morris 




Barbara Ford 




Phillip Harrington 




Scot Morris 




David A. Tarr 




* What our industries need 
are clear and easily under- 
stood ground rules, not 
arbitrary day-to-day 
decisions that contradict 
those made yesterday 3 

g.a. memory to 
'd power- 

instantly evoked a mental, image sf 
America. The phrase was not limited to 
military prowess. Amorig 'other strengths, 
encompassed diplomacy. i ; 'scal siabiliry. 
icieriLmc acvancsiTie.nl. production of 
.capital goods, and internal ■onaiTrade. 
In-the last-mentioned area the United 
States for more tnan lour decades was tv: 
world s i, i i ■.■■ii.:M o .1 i i exp 'dei ■: 
high-technology goods. But the margin 
negan to narrow in 1970. Our balance of 
deficit in 1977.-L.ast year the deficit rose-to 
$34 biflfon. Under present conditions the 


;il \ 

end i; 

o -svi 

; it >et. 

T the 

downturn, First few American companies' ■ 
. have aggressively sought to create foreign 
ma ■■■ :. ■ n ■'< ;i g- ■ ■: i hgo : i 
need to do so. In 1 977 only 1 percent ot the 
companies in- the- United. State's accounted 
tor 85 percent of the exports. Second, 
Some countries nave mised :ariri arc ooi'- 
tarift barriers against imports from the U.S. 

But themes! comne : - : mg reason for the 
decline is the fact that the U.S. 
government itself has the 

'wayofintefnationa! : trade.'.andhas"also . 
"ostered an inconsistent, stop-and-go 
policy that.haS'crippled'-the effortsof 
A:-ii-!-:~.'T- o:.":-:.;;; ; :;----: :'-,; : -. lack, of 
direction has been compounded by the 
failure ot America's leadership to 
understand the revolution in ini.ernai.onai 
trade over the last 30 years. 

As a result, on r nation has reached the 
point where we must increase ©ur exports 
simply to pay for what we import. 

& l competitive., 

.it carries with it a high degree ot risk. A 
company intending to-export a product 
often commirs the necessary funds for 
plant 'and equipment long before the first 
shiomeni -s made. This requires 
constancy and consistency in government 
.policy. What our industries need are clear 
and- easily- un rules, not 

■l'l li L ry fJS\ -C iy :!.■' ■ ' ii' ■ ■ I li 

contradict those made yesterday. 

There are, of course, U.S. tax law 
provisions designed to provide support for 
companies engaged in ove'seas 
commerce. But the future of these 
provisions is uncertain, "or examole. ;ne 
foreign tax credit protects U.S. companies 
against being taxed twice on the same 
torsion-source income Wii hour, such 
protection. U.S. companies could not 
hopi i • i i i r owned 

compares v. Hy 

P'ovrde safeguards against double 

'■ ■ ' i ■ ■ ■■ ' COW ;id 

ennqaprop i tr it arferfhat- 

' ' 3. 'i " :| ■. mi- 1 be sriarrjlv curtailed in 
their use of this credit. This would make 
the U S.. already dependent on foreign o-l. 
also, dependent on -foreign oil companies 

': '■ : npo .: ,.■ m ooM i ; the 

ugnt of U.S -coniroiled Jcelyn companies 
to defer- payment of U 3. taxes on income 
earned abroad until "he rands are 

,i - r a. e been 

suggestions on Cap-to; l-IMi thai the 
iax-cleferrai clause also be eliminated. 

The Ex pen -Import Bank, ■.vnich finances 
An ta: 

goods— the leading item in our foreign 
trade— could be an important influence m 
export growth. But despite the expansion 
ot its lending authority last year, the bank ■ 
sfil offers U.S. exporters only a traction of 
the assistance provided by other-major '.- 
nations to their exporting companies, 
'his imbalance is best demonstrated m 

■ the manufacture and saleof commercial 
ai'plaoes. Trie two major builders of 
airplanes are the united Staler-: and 
Airbus, a consortium of European 
manufacturers. Any A-rbus plane sold 
outside' the European community 
automatically qualities for exoort-oredit 
support. In contrast: tee Export-Import 
Bank determines the credit worthiness of 
American-mace airplanes sold overseas 
on-aplane-K i '.n i cssis Moreover 

fnroug-o the parllcioaiing countries'" 
centra; banking systems. The 

■'Export-Import. Bank relies on the 
resources of U.S. commercial banks, and 
.American aircraft makers, as a result, pay 
higher interest rates tnan Airbus does. 

!• should Po dear thai many of the 
elements needed to increase exports are 
■he same as those needed tor optimum 
functioning of our domestic economy; 

• Sufficient profitability to furnish capital 
for 'eoi vestment to support borrowing, 
ana ro create additional jobs. 

• Sufficient predictability of government 
poi : cy to permit orderly planning.- 

• Abandonment oi punitive attitudes and 
polices toward private business. 

: !n short, we need" su poor : by the federal 
government of the private sector's 
essential contrlbut-on to A meccan -society. ' 
But we carl afford to stand idly by :r-.e r e:y 
hoping the government '■/■."II aic American 
companies abroad. As citizens, we 
must ensure that oureJected representatives. . 
. understand the urgent need. for clear- 
consistent, and competitive trade policies. : 

fnarxs in la'ge measure to American 
economic-aid. many nations have 
advanced to the first rank oi economic 
strength and development during. the last' 
35- years. The US. government should/be 
doing all it can to help U.S. industry ■ 
compete- with these new industrial powers-. ■ 
That must.be-thepath of the future if the 
U.S. position in foreign trade is to regain its 
'onetime preeminence. DO 

orpofation. ' 

, ,'S chain 

:■! Mob/i 




^^\' ter more than three decades as 

M^^^ the world's leading 
# » technological nation, the 

United States now finds itself making room 
for a new and formidable force on the 
frontiers of science. Western Europe, the 
long-ago birthplace of modern science, is 
undergoing an unprecedented scientific 
and technological renaissance, the effects 
o! which are already being felt. Daniel S. 
Greenberg, columnist and publisher of the 
biweekly newsletter Science and 
Government Report, recently journeyed to 
Europe's leading research centers and 
institutions and has brought back the 
inside story ot why British, French, and 
German scientists have moved into the 
iorefront of the scientific community, "The 
Old World is astir with ambitious, 
well-financed, high-quality research," 
Greenberg writes. The Common Market 
countries collectively possess "a 
formidable assemblage of intellectual 
power and physical resources." "Europe's 
Scientific Renaissance," an exclusive 
report, starts on page 76. 

Barbara Ford's fondness for white-tailed 
deer spurred her interest in animals, 
particularly in animal survival. In her 
article "Survivors" (page 116) Ford 
provides a glimpse of some of nature's 
"more successful" creatures that, 
somehow, have managed to hang on in the 
face of fast-diminishing natural habitats, 

"Some species nave rot only survived," 
Ford writes, "but are actually increasing in 
number." A science writer and columnist, 


Ford has also written Future Food (William 
Morrow, 1978). 

Omni senior eciixr Scot Morris explores 
the world of "Prizes" in this month's issue. 
Morris, who's also our Games editor says 
he got the idea for the story while covering 
the building of the Gossamer Condor, the 
f rsl workable man-powe r ed airplane. 
While talking with some of the builders, he 
began reflecting on the shrewd vision of 
the man who inspired all this work by 
offering a prize and, by extension, on the 
economic advantages of offering prizes in 
other fields of science. The end result is an 
appeal for more new prizes. See page 108. 

The words human experimentation 
make the heart pound faster and evoke 
visions of Nazi concentration-camp 
brutalization ot prisoners. Yet testing with 
human guinea pigs is as fixed an element 
of research as test tubes are. Science 
writer Oava Sobel examines the ethical 
and moral perplexities concomitant with 
human experimentation and discloses 
how the medical world is frying to unravel 
the complicated regulations governing 
human-subject research. Her provocative 
report begins on page 52. 

Though not a physician himself. Pulitzer 
Prize winner Rend Dubos has become 
known as "the conscience of medicine," 
reaching out to the layman in countless 
books and articles. He is a teacher and 
researcher at Rockefeller University, and 
his accomplishments include the 
discovery of the first useful antibiotic and 
the first tuberculosis vaccine. Medical 

writer Claire Warga profiles the biologist 
extraordinaire in this issue's Interview on , 
page 86. 

Author Gene Wolfe told Omni that he 
began writing science fiction in 1956 in 
hopes of earning money to buy furniture. 
Seventeen years later his novella The 
Death of Doctor Island won him a Nebula 
Award. In 1977 he received the prestigious 
Chicago Foundation of Literature Award 
for his novel Peace, and in 1978 his 
"Computer Iterates the Greater Trumps" 
won the Rhysling Award for science-fiction 
poetry. As a Yuie present, Wolfe offers 
"War Beneath the Tree" (page 82), an 
enchanting tale about a rather unusual 
Christmas. (Yes, he now has earned 
enough to buy the furniture.) 

Joining Wolfe are two masters of 
science fiction, Spider Robinson ("Soul 
Search," page 66) and Dean Ing ("Sam 
and Ihe Dirty Mudder," page 96). 

Finally, for its December cictorial, Omni 
commissioned the great Dr Jason 
D'Argonaut, who, with his starship, 
searched the farthest reaches of the 
universe for some "decent" tourist 
attractions. He has just returned, bringing 
with him a portfolio of Ihe most astonishing 
intergalactic marvels, which we call the 
Seven Wonders of the Universe. You won't 
want to miss this peek at the Floating City 
of Waverny, the Light Dams of 
Hesparaggorta, and, of course, our very 
own Yonkers Airport, 17 miles high and 
about 12 cenluries into the future. Philip 
Dunn provides the text on page 90. DQ 

r— TbTi 




Altitude-Cuisine Paradox 
"Food for Zero G" [September 1979], by 
Dava Sobel. reminded me of an 
observation I made after taking a long 
plane trip earlier this year. I call it the 
altitude-cuisine paradox. Simply stated, 
the theory says that as you go up in 
altitude, the food gets worse. Consider 
these points: 

• Any navy man knows that food on 
submarines is usually very good. 

• There are more good seafood 
restaurants on the coast than in the 

• Airline food is notoriously unappealing. 
■ The food in space is horrible. 

'This theory neatly explains why 
astronauts eating the same food both on 
Earth and in space found it "inexplicably 
blander in space." 
By extending this rule, one could predict 
| that no life exists beyond Earth, since at 
extreme altitudes the food would taste so 
bad that no living creature could stand to 
[ eat it. 

Gary Kreie 
St. Louis, Mo. 

! Loves Lottery 

; I have been reading Omni since the 
beginning and even took out a 
subscription to avoid the rush at the 
newsstands every month. But you finally 
hit home with the letter by Roberta 
Gluzband [Communications, September 
1 979] about the space lottery, What a neat 
idea! All I'd really like to know is, Where do 
I go to purchase one for ten!)? Has 
anybody shown the letter to his 
congressman? Maybe a vigorous letter 
campaign, a few posters . . . 

Susan Imbs 
Indianhead Park, III. 

Yeti Revisited 

Further to my article "Unseen Yeti" 
[October 1 979], I wish to make it clear that 
i retain an open mind about the identity of 
the creature whose footprints I have seen 
and which have been sighted by a number 
of other people over a wide area in Asia. 
There is now a good deal of local 
testimony indicating that the creature 

bears a resemblance to an ape; there are 
other, more circumstantial, stories that 
would seem to endow the creature with 
human characteristics. I do not believe it 
to be a bear. My own position is that I am 
certain there is a case still to be answered, 
for or against these assertions. 

Moreover, I have at no time gone in 
search of the yeti. My own sightings o L 
tracks have been quite incidental to 
exploration in the Himalayas. I have no 
expert knowledge of zoology or 
anthropology but I nave a keen interest 
in wildlife of all kinds, 

John Hunt 
London. England 

The by-line to John Hunt's article "Unseen 
Yeti" read "by Lord John Hunt." While his 
name is John Hunt and he is indeed a lord, 
his title is not Lord John Hunt. When Hunt 
was knighted in 1953, after leading the first 
successful Everest expedition, he became 
Sir John Hunt. However, when he became 
a Life Peer in 1966, his title became Lord 
Hunt of Llanfair Waterdine, K.G. Our 
apologies. — Ed. 


You are to be congratulated on an editorial 
policy that permits the publication of 
possibly the best piece of journalism it has 
ever been my pleasure to read. I refer to 
"As Go the Whales" [July 1979], whose 
author, Kenneth Brower. should receive the 
high praise that he deserves. 

Can you tell us more about him? Has he 
written anything else? 

Ted Walter 
London, England 

Brower is the author of the critically 
aociaiffied The Starship and the Canoe, 
published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston. In 
August grower's newest work, Wake of the 
Whale, was published by E. P. Button and 
Friends of the Earth. — Ed . 


Your article "Trance Figures" [UFO 
Update, July 1979] thoroughly captivated 
me. I never realized hcfw susceptible 
hypnotic regression could be to the 

influence of both parties in the situation. 
This kind oi unbiased investigatory work 
by Allan Hendry does a great service to 
better scientific approaches to ufology. 

Giles Guthrie 
Atlanta, Ga. 


You have managed to capture the interest 
and curiosity ol a sixteen-year-old boy, 
which is something few science 
magazines can do. One day I took your 
June issue to school to show to some of 
my teachers. My English teacher dared us 
all to take your World's Hardest Spelling 
- Test, and he really liked the format of the 
article "How to Write an SF Novel." My 
physics teacher became so captivated by 
your articles on neutrinos and by "In the 
Matter of Space Law" that he bought my 
issue. You can bet I went and bought the 
same issue again for myself. 

Steven Hogue 
Quebec, RQ.. Canada 

Frau im Mond 

Kenneth Jon Rose is correct [Continuum, 
August 1979] in attributing the invention of 
the rocket-launch countdown to Fritz 
Lang, the motion -picture director, in his 
1928 SF film Woman in the Moon. 

You may be interested to know why he 
did it. I discussed this with Lang some 
years back, and I mentioned it in my 
text bock television News: Anatomy and 
Process, published in 1969. His answer: 
"Veil tin a German accent], ven you count 
up— vun, fwo, three, four five, six— you 
don't know ven you aredere." 

That's the simplicity of genius, Lang 
certainly deserves some mention aionc. 
with the SF writers who "invented" so 
many of the concepts we now take tor 
granted in aeronautics. 

Maury Green 
Sludio City Calif. 

Silicon Paradise? 

I enjoyed your article on the Santa Clara 
Valley ["Wizards of Silicon Valley," August 
1979 J, but I must take exception to the 
way the authors described the valley itself. 
It was once a beautiful, pleasant place to 
live, but because ot the high tech and 
Other growth it is now one big city, Irom 
San Francisco to San Jose. 

The people probably are more friendly 
than they are in the big eastern cities, but 
few people would walk the streets alone at 
night. The city of Santa Clara, in which I've 
lived for 25 years, has gone from a small 
agricultural town to a crowded suburban 
city. Crime is up year after year, the cost of 
living is astronomical, and the wages for 
labor are very low. I commute 100 miles a 
day to earn enough to own a house in 
Santa Clara. 

Silicon Valley may be a better place to 
live than many others, but paradise it is 
not. *" - 


The participants of the third Intensive 
English Institute on the Teaching of 
Science Fiction at Lawrence, Kansas, 
under the direction ot James Gunn, wish to 
thank you for bringing the institute to our 
attention. Most ot us were directed to it 
through your Continuum rubric. 

We were immersed in science fiction for 
three weeks in July 1979; we shared 
thoughts and exoorionces with'Frederik 
Pohl, Gordon Dickson, Theodore 
Sturgeon, and Lloyd Biggel. We read and 
heard about the growth of the magazines. 
We followed the changes in style in the 
works of the Hugo Award winners. 

Thanks to the dedication of James Gunn 
and his colleague Stephen Goldman, 
another group of teachers has increased 
its ability to present science fiction in the 
classroom accurately, vividly, and with 
empathy We have grown in under- 
standing, increased our knowledge, and 
learned to share along with writers and 
publishers the experience of the creation 
of a new cosmos or a novel idea. 

Science Fiction Teaching Class 

Intensive English Institute 

Lawrence, Kans. 

Environmental Savant 

When I first read the introduction to your 
interview with John D. Isaacs in your 
August 1979 issue, I said to myself, "Who 
is this lunatic who wants to dump waste 
-into the oceans?!" 

That introduction made me mad enough 
to read on, and I was completely turned 
around on the first page by his explanation 
that raw sewage should be dumped into 
the oceans to replace the nutrients that 
man has harvested from them. Isaacs 
criticized various environmental agencies 
and acts, which I admittedly almost 
worshiped as the lifeline of humanity and 
nature in the growing self-made filth of 
pollution and obliteration of entire species. 
He pointed out some distasteful holes in 
the agencies' thinking. 

Thank you, Omni, for bringing such a 
man as John Isaacs into your magazine. 
His interest and insight into the universe 
areas rare and original as those of the 
famous men whom he mentioned. 

Vincent Stuc.'s&r 
Carrier, Okla. 

Thanks for publishing the interview with 
John D. Isaacs. What a marvelous man 
Isaacs must be! I have known several 
Nobel Prize winners who struck me as 
being less creative than Isaacs, and I can't 
remember having met an "environ- 
mentalist" who made as much sense as 
Isaacs does, I wish I knew the man 

James V McConnell, Ph.D. 
Ann Arbor, Mich. 


Omni, unlike many magazines that ignore 

the identities of the artists whose work 

illuminates their pages, has made a point 
of giving the credit due these artists, 
printing their names adjacent to their work 
in a type size that's actually visible to the 
naked eye. In view of your usual 
conscientious attitude toward this matter, I 
found the omission of this information in 
the August 197S issue surprising. I'm 
referring to the eight prime paintings that 
were an integral part of the excerpts from 
The Notebooks of Lazarus Long. 

Caroline Hewitt 
Hartford, Conn. 

As printed in the photo credits on page 
128 of the August issue, the names are 

Lemuel Line, Gervasio Gallardo. and 
Carlos Ochagavia. — Ed. 


The short story "Graveside Watch" 
[September 1979] was super. A story 
about time travel with a plot so simple, yet 
so ingenious, was a joy to read. The 
accompanying painting of tall trees 
reaching for a bright blue sky was in 
perfect accord with the story's idea of 

I hope Gandy will have another short 
story appearing in the near tutu re. 

Charles Slade 
Vancouver, B.C., Canada 

My congratulations and heartfelt thanks to 
Rick Gauger for "The Vacuum-Packed 
Picnic" [September 1979]. It was truly the 
funniest piece of fiction I've read in Omni, 
Jerry Riddle 
Laurens, S.C. 

Educated Tongue 

Yes, I can roll my tongue [Continuum, 
October 1979], What with a B.S. degree 
and a close interest in the field of science 
ior many years, lean now roll my tongue 
with particular pride. 

My wife can roll her tongue as nicely as 
I. She has very little interest in matters ot a 
scientific nature. She is an artist and wins 
ribbons each year for her paintings at our 
National Peanut Festival and County Fair. 
How can I tell her that she is a misfit? She 
is likely to tell me to go roll my tongue 
someplace else. 

William Wartman 
Dothan, Ala. 


I find myself in strong agreement with Stan 
Kent [First Word, September 1979] 
concerning the hiring of young people to 
work in the space business. 

Being a young engineer myself, I wish to 
become involved in space research. But I 
am often trustrated by the seeming decay 
of the space program. 

I was heartened by Kent's words, 
speaking for a large group of young 
iiciE.""itisls and engineers. 

Stan, thanks for the encouragement, 

Kim L. Windingland 
Grand Forks, N. Dak.DQ 


In which the readers, editors, and 
correspondents discuss topics arising out 
of Omni and theories and speculation of 
general interest are brought forth. The 
views published are not necessarily those 
of the editors. Letters for publication 
should be mailed to Omni Forum, Omni 
Magazine. 909 Third Avenue, New York, 
N.Y. 10022. 

UFO over Iran 

James Oberg's ariicle for UFO Update in 
Omni's August issue is rhetorical prose at 
its worst. Oberg has used innuendo and 
guilt by association; he has introduced 
tacts that were not part of the original story 
and then shown them to be false. He 
introduced the presence of Jupiter and all, 
but he said that it is the cause of the event, 
while choosing to ignore radar lock-ons by 
the F-4 chasing the object. I could go on, 
but it would serve no purpose. Those of us 
who have studied the Iranian case know 
that Oberg's presentation of the facts is 
distorted by his perspective. The. fact of 
the matter is that neither Oberg nor the 
National Enquirer's blue-ribbon panel was 
in Iran that nighl. The events occurred 
three years ago and a-e becoming dim 
memories in the minds of the people who 
experienced them. All we have left are 
second- and thirdhand stories. This is the 
fate of all UFO events to date. 

I was on the Enquirer's panel that 
judged this case as "the most scientifically 
valuable UFO case reported in 1976." I 
would like to think that we did somewhat 
more than "merely agree that it sounded 
like a good story," as Oberg stated. 

Oberg takes the Enquirer's blue-ribbon 
panel to task for endorsing the Iranian 
case without a thorough investigation. The 
panel is not a scientific investigative body 
It is a group of scientists who meet once or 
twice a year to discuss stories selected by 
the Enquirer's minipanel of representa- 
tives from the major civilian organizations: 
NICAR APRO, and MUFON. We have not 
seen a reported case s:rong enough to be 
considered proof thai UFOs are vehicles, 
but we have seen many cases that provide 
us with tentative scientific clues, which 
may help someone in the future unravel 

16 OMNI 

this mystery 

What would be scientific proof? The only 
acceptable proof is a "close encounter of 
the third kind," as depicted in the movie 
of that name, or the nearly complete 
wreckage of a flying saucer in the 
Smithsonian Museum for all to look at. I do 
not think that we will see either during our 
liietime. I think that we must take the clues 
that we have, although many of them may 
be false, and try to explain them by 
mathematical theories and then 
by laboratory experiments. 

John L. Warren. Ph.D. 
Los Alamos, N. Mex. 

James Oberg replies: If Dr. Warren thinks 
he can take "second- and thirdhand 
stories" and conclude from them that the 
Iranian UFO was a doorway into space 
through which material from another 
universe can enter our dimension, then he 
1$ welcome to keep contributing to the 
National Enguirer. / cannot see that he has 
anything of value to contribute to science. 
Nothing personal, but I think those ideas 
are some of the most ridiculous UFO 
fantasies I've run into this year— and the 
competition is pretty stiff. Sorry, but the 
quality of the evidence cannot support 
such speculation. 

In regard to the UFO Update l"UFO over 
Iran"]. James Oberg seems to have a 
problem with his information concerning 

the F-4 Phantom's fire-control system. 

I believe I would gualify as an expert on 
that matter. I've spent several years as a 
radar technician in the U.S. Air Force on 
the F-4, the same model that [waslsold to 
Iran. As a matter of fact, Iranians trained 
with us at Lowry Air Force Base, in Denver. 

The "frozen weapons control panel" is 
very ordinary. Since both heat-seeking 
and radar missiles are initially aimed by 
the radar set, they have an intricate 
relationship with that radar. Radar enables 
the missile to be fired. Unless the radar is 
receiving a target that is within the 
missile's range, the missile will not be 
fired. The button, when pushed, would 
have no effect. It would then seem as if the 
panel was "frozen." Jupiter, needless to 
say, is out of range of the missiles. 

As for Oberg's experts from Tactical Air 
Command, unless they were radar 
technicians, they wouldn't be of much 
help. They are correct, however, in stating 
that the missile is fired from anelectrical 
circuit separate from the fire-control panel. 
Even though this is true, the missile button 
is not a light switch that, when pushed, 
completes an electrical loop to fire the 
missile. It is, instead, a complex system 
that integrates in the logical circuitry of a 
computer (the fire-control computer) many 
signals from all parts of the plane. Altitude, 
airspeed, relative speed to target, 
heading of target, missile range, etc.. are 
involved in Ihe decision of the computer to 
fire Ihe missile. In effect, the pilot "asks" 
the computer to fire the missile; the 
computer then decides and has the final 

Alas. ano:nor tcrosfia a 

David Hofer 
Denver. Colo. 

Anti-intellectual Peers 
This letter is sent in response to the article 
in Omni's September issue entitled 
"Saraswati in the Bronx," 

Several years ago I attended a small 
public high school in Florida, which was 
similar in design to Bronx Science, though 
perhaps not quite so rigorous or 
demanding. Reading the article reminded 
me of my own experience in a special 

academic program and brought to mind 
some of the com reverses inherent in a 
program for gifted students. 

The notion of such an elitist school as 
Bronx Science seems un-American. II 
runs counter to our goal of an egalitarian 
society, where opportunities for growth 
and development are provided equally to 
all students. [To pay for] Bronx Science, 
resources have been diverted from areas 
of greater need (i.e., from the regular 
public schools] to benefit only a select few. 
One wonders whether segregating these 
bright students from their "anti-intellectual 
peers" encourages an arrogant and 
haughty disregard for their fellowman. 
These were criticisms leveled at the school 
I attended. 

Implicit throughout the article is an 
overglorification of the role of scientific 
research in shaping our future. No one can 
deny that scientists will continue to have 
enormous influence on our society in years 
to come, but what about the contributions 
of art, literature, and philosophy? It would 
be unfortunate if these talented 
youngsters missed out on these other 
important human experiences. William K. 
Stuckey claims that the students of Bronx 
Science "are being groomed to shape the 
twenty-tirst century for us." Intact, the 
future will be shaped by all of us, scientists 
and nonscientists alike. 

Sean Eaton 
Lansing, Mich. 

Wild-eyed Doomsayers 

I missed the March issue of Omni but have 
just seen in the August issue Brenda Calia 
Thomas's letter mentioning the Arthur 
Clarke interview and The Jupiter Effect. I 
suspect Clarke knows, but Thomas clearly 
does not, that this book does not prophesy 
global calamity in 1982. Rather, Steve 
Plagemann and I prophesy a modest but . 
significant increase in global seismic and 
volcanic activity, with a strong probability 
that the southern part of the San Andreas 
Fault, now overdue for a major shift, will be 
among those triggered. Los Angeles may 
suffer, but that wouldn't be the end of the 

Critics of the idea should read our book 
before putting their criticism into print; 
equally [hose wild-eyed doomsayers who 
cite us as scientific support of their crazy 
ideas should read what we really have to 
say before claiming that "the end ot the 
world is nigh." If they did, the book might 
then really become a best-seller, instead of 
the modest success it has actually been 
so far. 

Dr. John Gribbin 
Brighton. Sussex, England 

No Gardens to Tend 

I want to respond to Daniel W Preston's 
letter in Forum [September 1979] concern- 
ing our species' expanding into space. 

I share similar feelings about expanding 
into space. Considering the present world 
situation and the direction in which we 

18 OMNI 

seem to be heading, however, I cannot 
help thinking that if we do nol expand our 
"gardens" elsewhere, we may not have a 
■garden left to tend. 

Alfred B.Davis 
Fort Collins, Colo. 

Daniel W Preston's "Tending Our 
Gardens" letter in Forum seems to convey 
the idea that expanding our specfes into 
the galaxy would be a waste o'f time and 
that we should learn to live together before 
venturing into space. 

I don't mean to say that all is well here on 
Earth. I feel, considering the lifespan of a 
galaxy, that we have come a long way and 
have learned a lot in a short period of time. 
And I believe that with our ability to 
obliterate our planet completely, our 
species is doing quite well. Where would 
the world be without exploration anyway? 

Remaining here on Earth to tend our 
gardens with hopes of better success will 
only prolong our agony or perhaps quickly 
put us out of our misery. I would gladly 
leave my garden in someone else's 
capable hands for two tickets to the stars 
to do my part in making sure our species 

Timothy R, Philpott 

Health Risk 

I am writing this letter in response to the 
article "Brain Pollution." by Douglas 
Colligan [Continuum, August 1979], con- 
cerning the combination of the two gases 
carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. 
Colligan claims in his article that the two 
may cause alcoholism and brain disorders. 

My concern is that I work in an 
environment in which there is a high 
concentration of both of these substances. 
What are the dangers? And what are the 
steps involved in protecting myself and my 
fellow workers? 

Stephen LaScala 
Bayonne, N.J. 

Douglas Colligan replies; The article didn't 
say the two gases carbon monoxide and 
nitrogen dioxide cause alcoholism and 
brain disorders, just that they seem to 
aggravate the conditions when they are 
already present. People with these 
problems are more sensitive to these 
pollutants. As far as protecting yourself 
goes, probably the best thing to do is to 
get a job in a cleaner environment. Short of 
that, the other things you can do are not to 
smoke, or to quit smoking II you already 
do, and make sure your working conditions 
comply with those laid down by the 
Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration. The most immediate 
danger with any kind o! air pollution is to 
your lungs, but if the St. Louis study is 
accurate, it looks as if air pollution may 
take its toll on the brain as well. 

This may help a little; The important 
thing is not to assume that these pollutants 
can cause alcoholism and brain problems. 

Sirius Sunrise 

I should like to comment on Carl Sagan's 
remarks about Sirius ["White Dwarfs and 
Green Men," August 1979]. 

The only mystery as to why some 
ancient astronomers observed Sirius as 
red lies in some modern writers' inability to 
see obvious facts. Most ancient 
observations ot Sirius were conducted to 
determine when it was going to rise with 
the sun, in other words, when it was rising 
near dawn. Naturally at these times, it was 
near the horizon and its light would pass 
through a thicker layer of atmosphere than 
it would when the star was at its zenith, 
where modern observations would be 
made. The atmosphere would filter out the 
blue wavelengths of light from Sirius, and 
so the star would appear red, just as the 
sun would when rising a little later. Such 
observers were no more seeing a red 
dwarf star in the neighborhood of Sirius 
than they were seeing a red dwart star in 
the neighborhood of the sun. 

Gena Davies 
Brecon, Powys, Wales 

Bylinsky's Universe 

In his otherwise impeccable article "Life in 
Darwin's Universe" [September 1979]. 
Gene Bylinsky makes a statement that at 
first blush sounds so logical that it might 
be unhesitatingly accepted at face value: 
", . , trees on a larger planet, for instance, 
would be short and squat . . ." Gravity is an 
absolute dictator of the vertical 
dimensions of living, growing things. 
"Giraffelike beings might inhabit a 
low-gravity, forested planet," referring 
obviously to a nearby illustration depicting 
twosuch creatures, the neck of one 
appropriately bent in the shape of 
a question mark! 

We have but to look about us, on our 
own planet, to see abundant refutation of 
such a supposition. For instance, the tall 
giraffe versus the squat turtle, the towering 
redwood versus the sprawling ground 
vine, and innumerable gradations in 
between, all on the same planet under the 
same gravity pull. Differences in gravities 
may not be as effective as Bylinsky 

Ken Deardorf 
St. Louis. Mo, 


In response to the editor's comment 
concerning a letter from Douglas Love in 
Omni's October issue, why doesn't Omni 
show some initiative and send a 
correspondent to the Three Mile Island 
area and ask residents there how they feel, 
instead of second-guessing them? 

Stephen T. Pehmer 
Riverton, Wyo. 

We have already sent a reporter to the 
Three Mile Island area for a firsthand 
account. You can read Stuart Diamond's 
comments foryourselfin September's Last 
Word. - Ed. DO 



By Kenneth Brower 

The alkali storm thinned, its white 
curtain turned diaphanous, and 
behind it a vast desert lake 
materialized. The lake's blue developed 
like a photograph before my smarting 
eyes. I dropped the bandana covering my 
nose and mouth. The wind still blew hard, 
but the last lagging furies of alkali had 
scurried on, and the thin air was as 
flawless and lite-giving as any I had 
breathed on Earth. 

The lake's blue was the only primary 
color in a basin of desert pastels. The lake 
seemed to be a mirage in the aridness, an 
enormous improbability There were two 
islands near its center, both of volcanic 
origin, one whitish and the other blackish, 
both capped by dark cinder cones. The 
white island had a special appeal; I 
found my attention lingering there. 

The lake's western shore was a lofty 
sierra. In isolated spots on the highest 
mountain slopes lay patches of what 
appeared to be water snow. There might 
have been some water ice as well — the 
valleys of the range had the U shape 

characteristic ol glacier-carved 
valleys— but the glacial ages on this world 
were clearly long past. North, south, and 
east of the wide alkaline bowl fhat 
contained the lake stretched low foothills 
of open desert. 

The lake was parchingly saline. Its 
concentration of dissolved solids — mostly 
chlorides, sulfates, and carbonates — was 
three times that of the oceans. Its pH was 
almost 100 times as alkaline. Its buoyancy 
was so great that the measuring stick tried 
to jump out of my hydrometer. 

And yet the lake was inhabited. The 
water teemed with primitive, 
crustaceanlike creatures that I decided to 
call shrimp. My companions were tiny but 
numberless. They had crescentic heads 
with black eye specks at either end, They 
propelled themselves with awavelike 
motion that traveled through the cilia on 
their sides. The water was a thick soup of 
shrimp; the lake must have held trillions. 
They seemed to be all of one species, yet 
they were of different colors, mostly red or 
green, but sometimes ocher and 

turquoise. Was : dirercri n ngs they ate? 
Different metabolic phases? Or some sort 
of invertebrate caste system? I had no 
idea, I watched with admiration as they 
rowed themselves about, looping up or 
down occasionally in Immelmann turns. 
Somehow, in the bitterly basic chemistry of 
that water, they carried on their own 
internal chemistry. In some way they 
maintained internal : uids against the 
monstrous pull of that salinity. Theirs was a 
testament to the ingenuity and dumb 
courage of life in this universe. 

In the next few days I seldom ventured 
far from the lake. Perhaps I was drawn by 
the life there, the mute but multitudinous 
companionship of the shrimp. I explored 
the endless shoreline. Here and (here on ,. 
the alkali flats stood towers of calcium 
carbonate. A few were solitary, but most 
were in rows, looking for all the world like 
the columns of ancient parthenons. Some 
stood knee-deep in lake water, like the 
ruins of Atlantis finally exposed. Some 
stood inland, vast and trunkless legs of 
stone against which dunes gathered. I 
would have believed them to be remnants 
of dead cities, except that here and there 
a tower had toppled, exposing its cross 
section. There was no marble inside. The 
outer layers of calcium carbonate simply 
coated inner layers. 

I wandered from one false city to the 
next, seeking shade, for the towers 
provided the only shelter from the sun. In 
the heat of midday, I napped under them, 
moving often to follow the thin apron of 
shadow revolving around them with the 
sun. When the temperature had dropped a 
bit, I set off for the next false city. Water 
mirages shimmered on the alkali plain, 
and the white towers ahead danced there, 
reflected in a coolness that did not exist. 

I discovered freshwater springs. They 
bubbled up in dark, circular pools on the 
alkali flats or seeped out from the dunes at 
the edge of the foothills. Most of the spring 
water was too hot and sulfurous to drink, 
Some of it was marginally potable, if you 
forced yourself to swallow. And a few of the 
springs had water that was cold and 
good, tainted only slightly by sulfur. 

This world had been called Mono by 

observers seeing il to' the tret time. The 
name musl have been derived from the 
searing monotony of the place when seen 
trom above. And yet, like much ot the 
terrain we too quickly describe as 
wasieland. Mono is lovely. 

I became the James Hutton and Sir 
Charles Lyell of Mono s geology. I came up 
with a theory that explained its towers 
naturally. Noting Hie resemblance oi the 
towers to the stalagmites of limestone 
caves on Earth, and realizing lhat most of 
my springs occurred near the towers, I 
decided that the towers were simply fossil 
springs. They were ancestors of the 
'generation I drank at. Bubbling up through 
the lake bottom, calcium in the fresh water 
combined with carbonates in the lake 
water and precipitated out. 

This first theory led to a second and 
more ominous one. My towers could form 
only deep in the lake, below the influences 
of wind and surface currents, yet many 
now stood high and dry. Some were 
several kilometers from the lake, 
marooned on old beach terraces. The lake 
was shrinking. The alkaline flats 
surrounding il were expanding. Mono's 
lake was nearing the end of its time, or at 
least the end of a cycle. 

The lake was not what if first had 
seemed, an ecosystem of just one 
organism. A second creature occurred in 
numbers nearly as overwhelming as the 
shrimp's. I wanted to call these others flies 
but, to avoid prejudice, named them 
muscaforms. They looked, even buzzed, 
something like our houseflies. 

Farther out on the lake swam ornithoid 
creatures of several species. The largest 
were white, the smaller kinds more drably 
colored. They were all goon tliers but 
spent most of their time on the water. 

I often came upon dead birds that had 
washed ashore. They were encrusted with 
an alkaline precipitate — the fate of 
anything that remained motionless for long 
enough on this lakeshore— yet they still 
showed a remarkable resemblance to 
earthly birds. Again I felt uneasy. 

On the fresher corpses, the atkali gave 
the breast feathers a stiff sponginess. as I 
found when I poked with my finger. On 
older corpses, the breast feathers were as 
hard as rock, on their way to becoming 
fossils. The same would happen to me, I 
realized, once I ceased moving. My beard 
and hair would first go white and stiffly 
spongy, then turn to rock. I quickened my 

I found my interest returning, again and 
again, to the whitish island at the center of 
the lake. The island had an attraction — 
perhaps just the attraction of all islands, 
Ihe magnetism in the idea of insularity. 

One day, on reaching the shore near its 
sister island, the black one, I saw that the 
latter was not an island at all. It once had 
been, but th_e shrinking lake had recently 
exposed a land bridge, making it a 
peninsula. I walked to ihe peninsula's 
southern end. There, across a narrow 

22 OMNI 

channel, I facec; rhc white island. I paused 
for a moment, then made a buoyant crossing. 

The northeastern tip o- Ihe island was a 
black peninsula ot fumaroles and 
steaming vents. A number of white 
ornithoid creatures had gathered just off 
the shoreline rocks, paddling about slowly 
in the fumarole-heated water. I was 
watching them wondering why they were 
drawn here. Did the hot water kill their 
mites, or did they come for the hedonistic 
reasons for which humans go to spas? 
Then I saw the two-dwellings. 

They stood overgrown by scrub 
vegeiation on a sandy f la! above the 
peninsula of fumaroles. I bushwhacked 
my way toward them with a growing 
apprehension. In 15 minutes I stood, 
sweating, before the first. It had a green 
patina, as if it were made of bronze. It had 
an odd. vaulted, pressure-vessel ceiling. It 
had windows at about the right height for 
humanoids to look out at the lake. I didn't 
know what to make of it. It looked like 

• On older corpses, 

the feathers were as hard as 

rock, on their way 

to becoming fossils. The same 

would happen to me 
once I ceased moving. My hair 

would turn to 
rock. I quickened my pace. 9 

•something trom a tale by Jules Verne. 

Outside the second building, I saw the 
ancient tractor. It was crumbling with rust. 
The emblem on the grill said "Devlin." I fell 
to my knees, driving my fist into the sand. 
There was no way convergent evolution oh 
another planet could have produced those 
six letters, that English name. 

"Earth!" I groaned. "They did it! They 
finally did it. They turned Earth into a 

Of course I didn't really groan that. I had 
known all along what planet I was on. I 
stole tie groan from the time-warped 
Charlton Heston, when, at the end of 
Planet of Ihe Apes , he sees ihe ruined 
Statue of Liberty. But everything else is 
true. The lake was named Mono by the 
peopfe ot the first probe — a probe 
conducted not by remote cameras but on 
foot— by early North Americans. Mono is 
a Paiule Indian word, nearly an antonym 
for monotony. It means "beautiful." Mono 
is the largest lake entirely in California. 
The shrimp that inhabii i; by the trillion are 
brine shrimp, genus Artemia. Brine shrimp 
really do conduct all their business by 

waving their arms — Iheir phyllopodia, 
rather. Nobody knows why they occur in so 
many different colors. The muscaforms are 
brine Hies. The white ornithoid creatures 
are California gulls, one fourth of whose' 
world population breeds here. The smaller 
ones are eared grebes, phalaropes, 
egrets, andduck-s. The, towers of calcium 
carbonate are indeed J ossi sorings. The 
mountains to the west are the Sierra 
Nevada. The white Island is named Paoha, 
and the two buildings on it are the 
bathhouses o - an abandoned spa. 

Mono Lake is indeed shrinking. We are 
indeed fuming much of Ihe easlern side of 
the Sierra into desert. Mono demonstrates 
Ihe problem with that old myth about 
making the deserf bloom. To make one 
desert bloom, you create another desert 
someplace else. It is hardly a new lesson 
in this part of California, nor one lhat needs 
repeating. The whole story was played out 
before, in Owens Valley to the south. 
Owens Valley was once fertile ranchland. 
and Owens Lake, a great saline body 
like Mono. Los Angeles, to water its 
phenomenal growth, drained Owens 
Valley and rendered Owens Lake a 
dustbowl. The ranchers of the valley were 
no match, politically or financially, for the 
water miners of an enormous city 
hundreds ot kilometers away. In recenl 
decades Mono's water level has been 
dropping steadily as its 'coder streams, in 
theirturn. have been shunted south to Los 
Angeles. The lake has fallen 10.5 meters 
as the result of diversions. The alkali flats 
grow larger, more and more alkaline dust is 
borne aloft in the wind, and great clouds of 
it Ihreaten human, plant, and animal life for 
hundreds of kilometers around Ihe lake. 
The lake's salts have been concentrating 
and may prove too much even for the 
excretory systems of the brine shrimp. The 
great flocks of migratory birds that depend 
on the shrimp are thus endangered, The 
recently exposed land oridgethat I 
crossed to the black island (which is 
named Negit) can be crossed by coyotes 
just as easily Coyotes do cross, and their 
trails now ramify through a coyote 
paradise of gulls' nests. About 30,000 
California gulls iraditiona ly nest on Negit 
Island. This year, for the first time, they 
refused to do so, and not a bird was 
i-edged on Negit. San Franciscans wi i 
notice the difference in the next several 
years. Los Angeles is making a desert of 
California's ccasfal skies, as well as of ifs 
inland ranches. 

This year the Interagency Task Force on 
Mono Lake has recommended that Los 
Angeles give up 85 percent of the water it 
diverts from Mono and thai the lake be 
allowed to fill 5 meters above its present 
level. Such measures will be necessary if 
the lake is to be saved. The Los Angeles 
Department of Water and Power has 
loudly protested the task force's 
recommendations, and it is girding for a 
long fight. In the next few months the fate 
of the lake will be decided. DO 


By Mark R. Chartrand III 


W Ankara and Tokio. Sappho 
and Brunhild, Kleopatraand Kepler, The 
NORC and Esperanto? 

Guess again. They are all asteroids, 
named for some favorite of their 

But why should anyone care about 
these myriad tiny bodies, each less than 
1 ,000 kilometers across, which play 
cosmic bumper cars between Mars and 
Jupiter? Their total mass is hardly 
one-thousandth that of Earth's, most never 
get close enough to be seen clearly, and 
certainly none harbors life. 

Their attractions are many: the chance 
to name some cosmic real estate, the 
continuing challenge of understanding 
how our solar family moves, the hope of 
studying primordial material, the prospect 
of mineral resources and way stations to 
the outer planets. 

The first asteroid discovered — most 
astronomers now call them minor 
planets— was spotted on the first night of 
the nineteenth century by Italian 

astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. He named it 
Ceres, after the patron goddess of Sicily. 
Astronomers congratulated themselves on 
finding a planet that filled in a large gap in 
the orderly spacing of the planets. 

Soon other planets were found, and by 
1890 about 300 were known. Most had 
been given names from an international 
pantheon of gods, demigods, and 
hemidemisemigods. With the invention of 
photography, the number of discoveries 
swelled, and the supply of deities' names 
was nearly exhausted. The names of 
wives, lovers, dogs, towns, and African 
shrubs crept in. However, except for the 
orbit calculators, few astronomers were 
interested in these planets. 

But in the past decade we have come to 
realize that these bodies preserve an 
important record of the formation of thg 
planets. Unlike the major planets, which 
have been greatly altered since their 
formation, these time capsules have 
remained unchanged for 4.5 billion years, 
except for some collisions. They should 
still be similar to the preplanets that 
astronomers call planetesimals. They 

7 '" h * 


Slta m" "itW ' ^ 

■s through the sswyat 

^■.it.'Ao'.' yfj^rs -:go. 

could be Rosetta stones to decipher 
our solar system. For this reason, space 
SGient sts hope to send up an asteroid- 
rendezvous probe in the late 1980s. 

The 1979 catalog of minor planets li&ts 
2,042 objects with well-known orbits. 
Hundreds of others are less well known. 
We estimate that there are 100,000 
asteroids bright enough to be 
photographed from Earth and that there 
are millions of undiscovered chunks. 

Science-fiction stories used to depict 
the asteroid belt as the "reefs of space" 
into which rocket ships ventured at great 
risk. Since then we have sent several 
spacecraft through with fewer collisions 
with small particles than we expected. 
That's not to say that collision with a large 
rock— fist-sized or larger— couldn't 
destroy our probes, but such encounters 
are rare in the vastness of space. 

The composition of asteroids is still a 
puzzle. Some seem to be made of metal, 
the remains of bodies big enough to heat 
up and melt, thus forming an iron core 
similar to Earth's. Other asteroids are of a 
light, rocky material, quite unlike the moon 
but similar to one kind of meteorite. 

Most of the tiny fragments that appear 
as meteors are probably chips of 
asteroids, flung free by collisions. So far. 
they are the only pieces of asteroids we 
have been able to get our hands on. 

It's the asteroids themselves that 
would-be space colonists are after. One 
plan would have us travel to the asteroid 
belt, build rockets on a small asteroid, and 
boost it back to Earth. Other asteroids 
might be hollowed out for use as space 
stations. The rocky asteroids could supply 
water, oxygen, and other light elements 
lacking in the lunar soils colonists would 
be using. The metallic asteroids would 
supply almost pure iron alloy. (An asteroid 
only one kilometer in diameter contains as 
much iron as is produced on Earth in eight 
years, about four billion metric tons — and 
it's already refined!) 

In the meantime, if you discover an 
asteroid you can name it whatever you 
wish, with the approval of the International 
Astronomical Union. 

Hint: So far. there's no OmniaiOO 

/ Dr. Bernard Dixon 

Earlier this year I drove to 
Heathrow Airport, near London, 
to fly over on a visit to Omni's 
offices in New York. I arrived at the parking 
lot. stopped outside the reception office, 
collected a ticket, and got into my car. 

But it wasn't my car. It was precisely the 
same model and color as mine and had 
been parked right nextto mine. Just as I 
was doing a double-take, its owner 
appeared from the office. We grinned at 
each other and drove off to our allotted 
places in the maze of automobiles. As we 
locked our vehicles — again alongside 
each other— I noticed the man's suitcase. 
It was virtually identical to mine. We 
boarded the minibus and commented on 
this extraordinary coincidence. There was 
more to come. When the driver inquired 
which terminal we wanted, our replies 
were identical. We were booked on the 
same flight. 

I've long been skeptical about the 
"meaning" of coincidental events. But this 
episode shook me. I pondered it for weeks 
afterward and even tried to work out the 
odds against such an incredible 
sequence. You start backward. What 
proportion of people arriving for that 
particular flight would be expected to use 
the airport's parking facility? What fraction 
of those might own a particular model of 
Fiat car? And so on. Even using the most 
helpful suppositions, the odds against that 
precise experience were astronomical. 

The whole thing came back to me when 
I read two fascinating books recently. They 
are The Tao of Psychology, by Dr. Jean 
Shinoda Bolen (Harper and Row), and 
Incredible Coincidence, by Alan Vaughan 
(Lippincott). Both set out to explore the 
concept of synch roni city, as used by the 
psychologist Carl Jung to describe 
"meaningful" coincidences that have no 
apparent cause. 

Although Bolen's work is the more 
scholarly and Vaughan's is journalistic. 
each hangs upon the perception of 
significance in the sort of occurrence Jung 
himself employed to illustrate the idea of 
synch roni city. He wrote about an unusually 
logical patient, someone he felt was not an 
ideal candidate for analysis, and of his 

hope that "som=:-ii.-ig l ncoccted and 
irrational would turn up, something that 
would burst the intellectual retort into 
which she had sealed herself." During one 
of their sessions, it happened. The woman 
was telling Jung about a dream in which 
she had 'been given a golden scarab— an 
expensive piece of jewelry. At lhat moment 
Jung heard a gentle tapping at the 
window behind him. It proved to be a 
scarabaeid beetle, whose gold-green 
color closely resembles that of a golden 

As Jung recollects: "I handed the beetle 
to my patient with the words 'Here is your 
scarab.' This experience punctuated Ihe 
desired hole in her rationalism and broke 
the ice with her intellectual resistance. The 
treatment could now be continued, with 
satisfactory results." 

Jung built much upon expenences of 
this sort, as do his two present-day 
followers. All concede— indeed positively 
urge us to understand— that synchronicity 
is a subjective phenomenon rather than an 
objective one. The subject participates 

actively, giving his or her personal 
meaning to the coincidence. And what is 
true of specific experiences is clearly true 
of people who ponder these things. Dr 
Bolen sees synchronistic events as 
"glimpses into the underlying oneness" 
that also comes through to us in Tao 
experiences. Vaughan reviews a mass of 
evidence - a 1972 novel whose plot 
closely parallels the 1974 kidnapping of 
Patricia Hearst, a lead coffin that floated 
2,000 miles home after having been swept 
to sea in a storm— and tries to persuade 
us that nothing happens by chance. 

Although neither of these two authors 
has convinced me, I take their central 
point. We all encounter surprising 
coincidences — between events, between 
our imagination and reality, between 
dreams and concurrent or future reality. ' 
Most of us ordinarily dismiss them as 
capricious accidents and rationalize them 
by calling upon the innumerable instances 
in daily life when random events do occur. 
This rational stance is broken only when a 
coincidence strikes with such telling 
clarity that it cannot be pigeonholed. 

What occurred at Heathrow was the first 
event I'd ever experienced that 
approached this category. It bothered me, 
but not because I saw any deep meaning 
in the happening. It was simply the 
realization of how profoundly baffled and 
disturbed it had left me. If the sequence of 
events had had emotional substance, 
instead of being centered on humdrum 
details like the make of an attache" case. I 
might well have become a disciple of Dr, 
Bolen or Mr. Vaughan. Imagine, for 
example, a comparable series of three or 
four consecutive occurrences involving a 
"chance" meeting at an airport with a 
stranger reading a copy of the same book 
you are carrying — a book that has deep 
personal significance for each of you. You 
then discover that you are booked on the 
same flight and are both going to visit a . 
friend who is dying of cancer . . . 

Such an experience would have 
emotional impact, and I do not believe that 
I could accommodate it intellectually— as 
I was able to deal with an otherwise similar 
course of events a: Hoanrcw DO 


By James Delson 

J ere Henshaw is vice-president in 
charge of production for American 
International Pictures. In the 
summer o( 1979 two AIP films made under 
his supervision, Love at First Bite and The 
Amityville Horror, racked up an incredible 
$100 million in box-office grosses, making 
them the two most successful movies in 
that company's history. Henshaw becomes 
keenly involved with his projects at AIR 
just as he did in his years at 20th Century- 
Fox and Cinema Center Films, for which 
he brought Little Big Man, The Poseidon 
Adventure, and The Towering Inferno to 
the screen, "I made the original deal for 
Star Wars, too," Henshaw said, "butthe 
rest of the credit goes to George Lucas 
and his incredible production team." 

While supervising postproduction work 
on Meteor. Henshaw took on the task of 
correcting the errors he saw in director- 
Ronald Neame's hybrid of disaster and 
space-hardware films. "There wasn't 
anything wrong with the film, really," 
Henshaw said. "It just ran slowly, Howard 
Hawks once told me that-it's not what you 

take out of a movie that counts, it's what 
you put back in. Sometimes making it 
longer can make it seem shorter. All I'm 
doing here is putting back some of the 
things Neame cut out. rearranging things 
so the picture will run better. 

"Neame and I watched the first six reels 
together the other day, and Neame was 
pleased with what I've done." 

Henshaw admitted to me, in September, 
that Meteor would cost about $20 million, 
$3 million over budget, and its release 
date had been moved from June to 
October Henshaw estimated the picture 
would take in better than £25 million in the 
United States alone. 

Since its inception three years ago the 
Meteor project combined the best and 
worst of contemporary filmmaking. One 
good point was its unique financing plan, ■ 
in which its backers put up their money in 
exchange for distribution deals in the 
regions they chose to cover. Thus, 
American International paid for U.S. 
distribution; Warner Bros, bought most of 
Europe; Shaw Brothers, Ltd., of Hong 

-j.'ic s/ce.-.'sc/f: in Melec-r una ire Es : ack Hole (above). 

Kong, paid for the Crown Colony and 
other parts of Asia; and Nippon Herald 
Film, Inc., of Japan. Stockholm Film, A.H., 
of Sweden, and Naz Film Company/of 
Iran, each paid for their respective territo- 
ries. This tactic enabled the producers to 
raise the money they needed, but other 
problems developed soon afterward. 

The financing was based on a finished 
script and on a "package deal" that 
guaranteed the presence of the film's 
stars, Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl 
Maiden, and Brian Keith. Also included 
was its distinguished director, Neame, 
whose previous credits include Tunes of 
Glory, The Poseidon Adventure, and The 
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie . Unfortunately, 
the film couldn't begin production until its 
many special effects had been properly 
designed, laid out, and perfected. 

As Meteor's production schedule 
chugged along, Neame was on or below 
budget in all area- except special effects. 
His failure to bring these crucial 
sequences in on time began causing 
delays. "There's no villain here," Henshaw 
said. "In effects you can write out a 
budget, but it's impossible to be accurate. 
"It's simply that mechanical things don't 
always go right. You can rig a dump tank 
to inundate the set with thousands of 
gallons of mud, but if something goes 
wrong , -you've just got to do il again, even 
if it means having to wait three days while 
the set is cleaned and the stunt is rigged 
again. You can go with the first take, or 
you can do it over until it comes out right, 
Taking the time and spending the money 
on col; rig the effects perec; is an 
investment, not to mention a necessity 
where audiences are concerned," 
Taking no chances with the film's 
outcome, Neame dismissed his first 
effects unit after they proved unable to 
deliver the required sequences. His next 
team was better, but they, too, had their 
limitations. Finally, last May, a third effects 
unit, led by Star Wars Academy 
Award winner Robby Blalock, took over. 
By September a few other effects houses 
had been called in to supply the remaining 
s'rr.is needed ro- the fi 'ma r elease. 


S T«««ii»/nAsrr(trcrATirscHELL , anthAny pe. . .. 



aaj-Eas-ffSE-ff RtfoT^Tfrgs^sg^A S rK r i c h a$Pl A l\ 




Meteor is only one of several 
science-liciion films thai have run up 
against the increasing difficulty of 
shooting a film's special effects: Each 
movie must be brought in on time and on 
budget yet be sophisticated enough to 
convince post- Star Wars audiences. 
Meeting these needs has hindered a 
number of 1979's pictures: Alien, 
committed to open on May 25 under its 
ironclad release schedule, had to be less 
elaborate than originally planned. Star 
Trek's original effects team was replaced 
after months of inconclusive work. The 
flying sequences in Superman were never 
properly filmed. 

At root, the problem rests with the film 
community's misunderstanding of what 
.effects are for. After Siar Wars, film studios 
fell over one another trying to be first out 
with super SF movies. The result was a 
series of pictures whose story lines should 
have been heightened by strong effects, 
not built around them. Instead, the effects 
teams, unprepared and rushed into 
filming before they had worked out ways 
to achieve their visuals, simply could not 
present work equal to Star Wars or Close 
Encounters. The strong films suffered, and 
the weak ones died. This didn't sink the 
field, but nothing since has done as well. 
Yet the potential has been there in several 
instances. I am convinced, for instance, 
that if Ridley Scott had been allowed more 
time to complete Alien on his own terms, it 
would have done far better at the box 

Perhaps Henshaw's efforts will pay off. 
Filmmakers planning big effects pictures 
should heed his advice. 

It was very quiet on the giant 
soundstage at the Walt Disney Studio in 
September as workmen diligently 
prepared a miniature model for one of the 
many special-effects shots that will 
appear in the $20-million space adventure 
The Black Hole. The film was entering its 
final weeks of production, and the feeling 
around the studio was that, at long last, a 
Disney movie would rival any other picture 
produced this year in its sophisticated 
effects, excitement, and, more important, 
broad audience appeal. 

"This could be the one," said director 
Gary Nelson, whose previous credits 
include TV's epic Washington Behind 
Closed Doors. "Everyone around here is 
counting on The Black Hole to bring 
Disney out of the kiddie market and place 
it in the general audience alongside 
other major studios." 

Announced several years ago under the 
title Space Probe, The Black Hole faced 
numerous delays, including the untimely 
death of its first producer, Winston Hibler. 
Then Ron Miller. Disney's executive 
vice-president in charge of production 
and creative all airs, reactivated the 
project. He brought in Peter Ellenshaw to 
design the film's overall look and special 
effects and Ellenshaw's son, Harrison, 

34 OMNI 

who had done brilliant work on Star Wars, 
to supervise creation of an astounding 150 
matte paintings. 

With a budget twice that of Mary 
Poppins. Disney's greatest live-action hit 
to date. The Black Hole must pull in an 
enormous audience to show a profit. 
Consequently, the film will be Disney's first 
PG-rated movie. Its cast, which includes 
Maximilian Schell, Ernes! Borgnine, 
Anthony Perkins. Yvette Mimieux, and 
Joseph Bottoms, has been carefully 
chosen to appeal to as wide an audience 
as possible. 

For a long time Disney films looked like 
reruns of Ozzie and Harriet, with 
perennially white, Protestant, middle-class 
"kids" living out 1950s fantasies in the 
same old way. But as the Seventies 
progressed, a few chinks began to show 
in the world that Disney created and the 
committee carried on, 

Blacks began appearing in featured 
roles, e.g., John Amos in The World's 

6 All the artwork resembled 

state-of-the-art spaceships, like 

you'd see if you went Into 

NASA. Who's to say whether 

we'll be building the same 

spacecraft in the future? What's 

the need of sleekness 

when you're in a vacuum? 9 

Greatest Athlete . New realities about life 
began insinuating themselves into plots, 
foo. With such projects as Island at the Top 
of the World. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 
and Pete's Dragon, villains of more than 
cardboard dimensions appeared. 
Production values improved over the old 
studio feeling that had dominated Disney 
products for a decade, and Miller's stamp 
slowly became apparent. 

With The Black Hole, Disney staffers 
have begun to hope the studio can 
become part of the Hollywood 
mainstream, no longer a cloistered 
sanctuary for virgins, malt shops, and 
high-school pranks. But will Disney really 
take its place alongside the other major 
studios? Will its films be seen by general 
audiences, not just school kids and 

The Black Hole's design was pushed far 
beyond Disney standards, reflecting Peter 
Ellenshaw's desire to go out with a 
memorable effort. 

"As this is my last film," he said, "I want 
people to see it as the climax of my career, 
not just the last work of a tired old artist. 
I've tried to make this as different as 

possible i turn rhf< other space films 
coming out, from top to bottom, especially 
with our giant space platform, theCygnus." 

When Ellenshaw joined the project, 
Miller had been working with noted space 
artist Bob McCall on designs for the 
massive space ship, the set for much of 
the film's action. "Ron took me round to 
show me what Bob McCall had done, as 
one shows off a new baby," Ellenshaw 
recalled. "He didn't want anything but 
praise. Well, I said very little. What could I 
say? They were wonderful, but something 
worried me about them. Ron was 
understandably perturbed. 

"Then I realized what it was. Here we 
were, planning a futuristic film, and all the 
artwork resembled state-of-the-art space 
Ships, like you'd see if you went into 
NASA. Who's to say whether we'll be 
building the same spacecraft then that 
we're planning on for the next ten years? 
What's the need of sleekness in a 
vacuum? These things could have the 
most awkward, open-scaffolding look 
because there's no friction in space. So I 
persuaded Ron to let me tear away the 
slab-sided shell of the ship and show its 

Ellenshaw's marvelous ship, built from 
scratch by Disney technicians, took more 
than six months to construct, and it took 
another year to film it with the other major 
Disney innovation on Black Hole, the ACE 
(Automated Camera Effects) system. 
Similar to the automatic camera systems 
used on Star Wars, Close Encounters, Star 
Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers , 
and the other hardware films, this system 
allowed the Disney production team to 
create better visual effects than were 
possible in the company's earlier films. 

"It was really a great idea," Harrison 
said. "The camera system was designed 
to become more sophisticated as its 
operators stored new knowledge into its 
memory systems. We've made this picture 
under ideal conditions. Unlike the other 
special-effects films coming out when we 
do, we're on schedule and under control. 
If Black Hole works, then I'm sure they'll 
use the ACE system again and make an 
even more sophisticated series of effects 
shots with it. 

"But to do that, they've got to keep 
pushing for better scripts, better talent 
behind the cameras, and a more universal 
approach to filmmaking." 

Much the same can be said for the 
Disney Studio. The fabulous organization 
that Walt Disney welded together over his 
lifetime presented the best animated films 
of their day and often released classic 
live-action children's pictures as well. But 
since Disney's death the studio has fallen 
into disrepute among serious filmmakers 
and with audiences, too. The Black Hole 
must be only the first step toward reviving 
Disney's slipping fortunes. Its success 
would mean a new era of first-rate enter- 
tainment from the studio, making it again 
one of fhe major Hollywood powers. DO 


By Bibi Wein 

There has always been something 
special about the reality of 
different ensembles making 
music in the same physical space. ... It is 
as if the whole of the universe were 
swallowed up. leaving us in a sea of music 
and cofor," writes Anthony Braxton in his 
liner notes to For Four Orchestras (Arista), 
the first work of its scale to appear on a 
mass-market American record label, 

Recorded at Oberlin College under the 
direction ot four conductors connected by 
television monitors, the two-and-a-half- 
hour piece is scored for 160 musicians, 
most of whom sit in revolving chairs 
so that the trajectory of each sound or 
sound collage can be controlled. For 
Four Orchestras represents the first ot 
nearly a dozen multiple-orchestra works 
that Braxton, an internationally acclaimed 
jazz artist, is conducting from a "central 
pool of sound/shape relationships." 
Series A concludes with a work for 100 
orchestras in four cities. Series B starts 
with a piece for three planets and 
proceeds to works intended for a per- 
formance "between galaxies." 

The skeptical insist thai Braxton is 
kidding or attribute such projections to a 
grand and preposterous whimsy akin to 
the spirit of certain outrageous 
monuments conceived by the sculptor 
Claes Oldenburg. Bui Braxton is 
absolutely serious, 

"In the Twenties and Thirties," he 
argues, "Edgard Varese postulated this 
whole period of electronic instruments, 
and he wrote for those instruments when 
they weren't available. So why can't I talk 
about a piece for galaxies? 
Multiorchestralism is directly related to 
intergalaciic creative possibilities, and I'd 
like to have some music prepared for that 
juncture when it's complete. If it's never 
completed, I haven't lost anything." 

Born in Chicago 34 years ago, Braxton 
has recorded nearly 30 albums, on which 
he plays nearly as many instruments, 
including all members of the saxophone, 
clarinet, and flute families. He plays 
bebop, he plays spare, linear riffs, he 
plays fierce clusters of sounds in dense 
masses. His work in the jazz idiom spans 

36 OMNI 

an emotional and s:y : is:;;: -arge from the 
somewhat stiff, iteilicjeni iristano/Konitz/ 
Marsh school to the liberated radicalism 
of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler. As a 
composer, Braxton continues to initiate his 
own forms, frequenlly interweaving 
notation and improvisation in structures 
that open and close. In Braxton's music 
one can hear echoes of Stravinsky, Weber, 
Gershwin. Cage, Ives, and 
Mingus— sometimes within a few bars of 
one another. For Four Orchestras has 
musical roots in Xenakis and 
Stockhausen, as well as a spiritual 
precedent in American Indian forms, in 
which exact performance spaces were 
cajculated with a ditferenl spiritual 
meaning ascribed to each degree. 

Braxton is working toward a coding of 
zones and trajectories of performance 
space, based on a complex set of 
variables he calls time/space coordinates. 
"Let's say the composition would be two 
hours long," Braxton explains, "and for 
another va^able if would start at twelve 
o'clock in the period of Cancer. And so 
maybe at twelve-thirty a particular 
information line ot notes would come in this 
direction in time and space. Remember, 

Braxton and contrabass: spatial dynamics. 

it's not just a space. Time and trajectory 
are very important. I'm in the process of 
coding all these elements. I'm researching 
all kinds of things, including the properties 
of shape and color, and what I call 
principal information in world culture — the 
history, the ritual, the function of what 
principal elements used to mean." 

Braxton's ambitious thrust toward a work 
in which "the total performance is not 
separate from what is being performed" 
has origins in the parade music he loved 
as a child and in the big-band bartles that 
were legendary in his neighborhood. But 
his music's reputation for being difficult is 
ro". entirely undeserved. 

Many of his compositions, concerned 
wftfl space and time, have no dominant 
melody for the ear to grab; harmonies are , 
frequently dissonant, and Braxton's bold 
exploration of the highesi and the lowest 
registers of such instruments as the 
eight-foot-tall contrabass saxophone, 
which hardly anyone else plays, produces 
sounds few of us have heard before. 

Braxton himself says. 'Anyone who 
hears the music should understand it, It's 
for the average person. I am the average 
person. My music makes sense for the 
time zone that I'm in. I'm not the only 
person in zone five-oh-six. I got to zone 
five-oh-six by passing five-oh-five." 

But Braxton's philosophy implies that his 
work will be best understood at some 
future time, when art will be perceived and 
interpreted very differently. "My belief is 
that we're moving toward a period of total 
vibrational change — a change I would call 
transformational . I am hopeful that 
suppressed peoples will move into a 
stronger defining position, and that will 
mean a complete transformation for given 
areas of information and how they are 
interpreted. I'm not saying the world will be 
just one big, sweet roll. But I like to think 
we'll be dealing with the next set of 
problems with higher aspects of 

"I'm trying to understand how music is 
perceived and how it's been perceived." 
Braxton told me during a long 
conversation at his home near Woodstock, 
New York. "What we call music is merely 

one discipline relaied to a lot of other 
disciplines. At the heart of the inquiry, I'm 
trying to align. I'm trying to contribute an 
alternative methodology that's relevant to 
all musicians— the improviser, the 
composer, the instrumentalist. ' 

"Every aspect of this methodology 
carries with it a broader implication. Take 
direction. If the sound is played straight at 
you or if it comes from the back or if it's 
played at yourfeet, it should mean 
something. That's what I'm interested in; 
correlating all these various information 
lines. Not applying a meaning but, I hope, 
aligning things in such a way that they are 
Conducive to meaning. 

"I really feel that this planet is just one 
small part of what's happening. This is not 
it. This is part of it. But ... I need more 

Braxton laughs at himself, then goes on 
to state a major premise of his work; By 
understanding and codifying the laws 
common to world music, he believes, one 
could discern or create "a music for every 
information line— music that could cure a 
headache or relate to problems in nuclear 
fusion or guide you to the best way of 
going from A to Z." 

Although Braxton has heard only a 
handful of compositions from a repertory 
already 300 works deep, he's too busy 
writing, researching, composing, and 
playing to complain about his adversaries 
who laughed when a work for five tubas 
appeared in The Complete Anthony 
Braxton, 1971 . Some of the critics who 
lavished praise on the stunning jazz 
ensemble Creative Orchestra Music have 
dismissed the more ambitious For Four 
OrchGstras with a few snide remarks and a 
shudder. The classical, or "new music," 
community, if it is aware of the recording at 
all, has, of this writing, ignored it. But 
obscurity is often the fate of work that 
crisscrosses closely guarded borders. 
Braxton himseii considers everything he 
does to be of a piece, "There's diversity, 
yes, but within my universe." 

In Braxton's simple, red frame house 
instruments are everywhere; half a dozen 
clarinets and saxophones occupy a 
corner of the living-room couch. An 
upright piano and a set of orchestral bells 
nearly till a small bedroom. Upstairs in the 
studio, sober gray file cabinets line the 
walls, and a snowy lab coat with "Dr. 
Braxton" embroidered in red hangs over 
the back of a chair. The "mad scientist" 
image with which he has alternately been 
blessed and cursed has become a family 
joke. It is an image earned in part by 
Braxton's insistence on wordless 
"alternative coding" to title his work. 

Some of the titles are mathematical 
formulas, in that they describe various 
coordinates of the composition's structure. 
"One-number might have to do with 
velocity on a scale of one to ten; another 
might refer to timbre. 

"Some of the coordinates are selected 
before the piece is written, almost like 

38 OMNI 

serial music, but not serial music. It 
doesn't quite match up as though a given 
piece of music is an empirical 
manifestation of a particular formula." 

Braxton's schematic titles— colors, 
geometric shapes, diagrams— refer quite 
literally to "the order of information as it 
occurs in a given composition from 
beginning to end." He also uses 
"hieroglyphics, yet not hieroglyphics. I'm 
looking for a substitute word having to do 
with the language of shape and color and 
figures. Another kind of writing. What I 
really want to do is create another 

Many have misperceived this intention 
and interpreted Braxton's titles as if they 
were drawn directly from mathematical or 
scientific systems. "It has nothing to do 
with that," the composer insists. "KELVIN, 
for instance, which refers to a repetition 
series in my music, has nothing to do with 
the Kelvin temperature scale. It's based on 
initials, names of friends. It's very 

deliberate in terms of what it will ultimately 
mean if I'm able to produce what I want. It 
has to do with coding for the whole 
spectrum of my work. At this time some of 
it makes sense and some of it doesn't. 
Some of it's based on astrology, 
numerology, chess moves. And there's a 
whole color system related to music, too. 
But right now I choose colors based mostly 
on what I see, as if I were a painter." 

Braxton likes to discuss his work in paint- 
erly terms, referring frequently to shape 
and color, seldom to formula. In his solo 
saxophone work, for example, he works 
"from different languages which involve 
shape, with the understanding that a given 
shape has a multitude of implications." 

By what science (or magic) does Braxton 
translate shape into sound, hear what is 
essentially visual? Seated at his kitchen 
table, having scrawled a few lines on a 
page, the composer demonstrates with 
arm movements, finger pops, a vocal 
phrase. The burst of sound and movement 
happens faster than my eyes and ears can 
follow. Patiently he breaks it down, 
explaining that a long bar shape 

represents a long sound, while Morse-code 
blips imply staccato burets: simple. And 
add the coordinates of rhythm, velocity, 
timbre, and it grows more complex. But for 
Braxton, its importance lies in what is 

"I'm looking for principles that will tap the 
reservoir of what primary elements used to 
mean. Like the .concept of R The noteF 
means more than just F It has to do with a 
part of the body, a certain information line. 
I'm interested in what it really is, what it 
used to be, and what Wshoutd be. 

"I'd love to have a music where every 
note means something, every movement is 

Possibly, the universe of Anthony Braxton 
embraces the mathematically precise and 
the mystical in equal parts. His titles, with 
their implicit equations and spatial 
relationships, suggest precision, while they 
evoke also the tension of movement within 
structure, the idea that a composition is not 
an object, fixed, but a living, dynamic entity 

Much of avant-garde jazz emphasizes 
the absence of structure and accents the 
free expression of feeling. Anthony 
Braxton's work proves that traditional 
structural foundations and a few old bricks 
don't necessarily inhibit feeling or make 
old-fashioned houses. 

"Yes, I'm going forward and backward at 
the same time," Braxton admits, "because 
it's the same direction. The seeds that 
dictated the dynamics of information in the 
past are directly relevant for the next level of 
creative postulation." 

Braxton's quest for primary elements to e 
carry his music into the future is not unlike 
that of any serious artist striving to create 
work that will endure. It would be 
presumptuous for us to attempt to judge 
whether he will succeed in tapping the 
fundamental source that he seeks. But 
there are indications: 

As Creative Orchestra Music fills my 
living room with some of its discordant, 
spacy planes, outside the open window the 
birds at the feeder react. These same 
birds, tolerant neighbors all, have daily 
endured a variety of stereophonic sounds, 
none of which they have honored with the 
slightest attention. Now they mass, chatter, 
vocalize wildly, as if responding to an 
urgent message from a fellow creature. 
One thing is clear, they are listening to 
Anthony Braxton's music. I can't help 
wondering what they hear. OQ 


Anthony Braxton, Arista Records 

For Trio, Arista Records 

The Complete Braxton, 1971 , Arista 


Montreux /Berlin Concerts, Arista Records 

Duels (1976) with Muhal Richard Abrams , 

Arista Records 

Creative Orchestra Music. 1976, Arista 


Silence, Freedom FLP 40123 (England) 

5 Pieces 1975, Arista Records 

Duet and Trio, Sackville Records 





Help, someone toke off into the 
eighties with o gift subscription to 
Omni — the first magazine of the 
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a world of growing inteilectual vital- 
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hope, a world in which the magical 
has become real, the impossible 

Editorially Omni pursues that which 
is probable within the context of that 
which is known. Each month Omni 
presents the latest developments in 
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predict their impact on the future. The 
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munity like Carl Sagon, Alvin Toffler, 
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Omni's aim is to heighten and enliven 
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editorially and graphically is as broad 
as the universe, as hfniro as time. 



By Robert Anton Wilson 

f^ f^ ost people see the UFO 

I I debate as a battle between 
| U |True Believers and Skeptics, 
The true believers, according to this 
model, are dogmatically— even 
religiously— committed to the idea that 
UFOs are interstellar spaceships; the 
skeptics hold that UFOs are nothing but 
hoaxes, hallucinations, and mispercep- 
tions of ordinary aerial phenomena. 

It might be better to picture. the debate 
as involving two rival bands ot true 
believers, the spaceship fans on one side 
and, on the other, those who will not 
renounce the doctrines they learned in 
high school and college. 

The true skeptics are those who are not 
dogmatically committed to any theory, who 
are willing to consider both these positions 
and less-publicized theories 
as well. 

Two new books, written from entirely 
different perspectives, seem to represent 
true skepticism. The first is Space-Time 
Transients and Unusual Events 
(Nelson-Hall, Chicago, Illinois), by two 
psychologists, Michael A. Persinger and 

Gyslaine F. Latreniere. The second is 
Messengers of Deception (And/Or Press, 
Berkeley, California), by Dr. Jacques 
Vallee, astronomer, cyberneticist. and 
longtime gadfly of ufology. 

Persinger and Lafreniere have 
examined not only 1 ,242 reports of UFOs 
but also 4.818 other anomalies. Something 
of the feel of this remarkable compilation 
can be gained by looking at just 6 of the 
6,060 reports: In Casterton. England, in 
1885, a 12-pound quartz stone fell during a 
lightning storm, in Huntington. West 
Virginia, in March 1962, a telephone 
operator picked up part of a phone call 
that was made the previous Christmas; in 
Bedford, Indiana, in 1957, a UFO witness' 
head was covered with burns, in Rapid 
City, South Dakota, in 1911, the tempera- 
ture dropped 47 degrees in 15 minutes; in 
Budapest, Hungary, in 1921, unex- 
plained fires and jumping furniture beset a 
house; in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1954, a 
driverless car was pursued by police. 

Such occurrences are unusual but not 
that uncommon: They are often reported 
by families and appear in statistical 

Lenticular clouds. 
40 OMNI 

Powys, Wales, have <nspnea many UFO reports. 

clusters. Using an IBM 36CMC computer, 
Persinger and Lafreniere have found 
several provocaiive clusterings. These 
oddities tend to take place in the same 
localities many times, recurring after 
decades or even centuries. Areas of high 
tornado activity and those along fault lines 
are also unusually susceptible to strange 
phenomena. And where there have been 
reports of UFOs, there have usually been 
reports of other oddities: Bigfoot has 
prowled; houses have been "haunted" by 
poltergeists; electrical equipment has 
misbehaved: or people have had visions, 
nightmares, or amnesia or have sufiered 
burns or been paralyzed. 

A partial explanation, the authors 
suggest, lies in the recent finding that 
Earth's geophysical behavior suffers local 
fluctuations at times of high solar-flare 
activity. These fluctuations, they propose, 
create electromagnetic anomalies and 
energy shifts leading up to earthquakes or 
tornadoes. Hence the clustering of these 
events in earthquake and tornado areas 
and their tendency to peak before 
earthquakes. The same fluctuations, they 
argue, can promote the formation of ball 
lightning and plasma in the sky and can 
interfere with normal brain functioning in 
animals and humans, causing both the 
panic so often reported in animals in these 
areas and the amnesia, blackouts, and/or 
hallucinations in humans. 

This hypothesis fits nicely with most— 
alas, not all — of fhe data presented. It also 
explains why some of the craziest and 
most implausible "contact" stories have 
come from places where independent 
witnesses have also reported strange 
occurrences. In such cases, those on the 
outskirts of the energy flux report baffling 
electromagnetic oddities, lights in the sky. 
and other events. Those closer to the flux 
experience odd physiological sensations- 
terrible odors, paralysis, and such— along 
with such strange phenomena as objects 
jumping and dancing. Those at the 
epicenter report all of the above and, with 
equal honesty their own hallucinations. 
The "experts" then sweep into the area 
and announce that the hard evidence was 
hoax and all the rest, hallucination. Small 




The search (or a world system has dominated scientific 
thought since the earliest records. A world system is the 
key to understanding the universe and, interwoven with 
magic, superstition, and an assortment of tutelary 
gods, is an attempt to tind rational principles to account for the 
incredible diversity of the world in whieh man finds himself 
embedded — deserts and forests, the darkness of night and the 
glory of sunrises, the cycle of the seasons, lightning and thunder, 
birth and life and death. How can all these be explained by a few 
simple objects obeying a few simple principles? 

World systems have- gone by many names, Empedocles in 
fifth-century (B.C.) Greece proposed his four elements (air, earth, 
fire, and water) and two forces (love and strife). Democritus of 
Abdera proposed atoms as the indivisible building blocks of 
matter. Atomism was rediscovered in the eighteenth century and 
lasted until the first decade of the twentieth century, when the 
atom was found to be divisible into smaller things— electrons 
and nuclei. 

The search for an ultimate world theory is as much an obses- 
sion today as it was 4,000 years ago. There have been partial 
victories. A famous example is Newton's taw of universal gravita- 
tion, A falling apple, the moon in orbit, or the planets in their 
cycles and epicycles would all seem to be very different things: 
yet they are all beholden to one simple mathematical formula. 
Even more dramatic was the grand synthesis of 200 years of 
fragmented experiments on electricity and magnetism, accom- 
plished by James Clerk Maxwell in 1870. In four crisp equations 
Maxwell brought all these phenomena into one coherent frame- 
work- electromagnetism - out of which came an understanding 
of the true nature of light, be it visible light like that from the sun, 
invisible light like X rays, or ultraviolet and infrared radiation. Out 
of this, too, came radio waves and radar and even, forgive us, 
television. More recently the modern theory of electromagnetism, 
embellished by Einstein's theory of relativity and the quantum 
theory, has provided a better understanding of atoms. 

Because of these victories, the number of distinct forces at 
work in the universe has been reduced to a mere four-gravity 
electromagnetism, and the "strong" and "weak" forces in atoms. 
The strong force is that which holds the nucleus together. The 
weak force-has to do with the phenomenon of radioactive decay 

of many subatomic particles -that which produces radioactivity. 

Now there is great excitement over the prospect of a new 
synthesis. It may be that electromagnetism and the weak force 
are one and the same thing. A theory was first proposed by 
Enrico Fermi in 1933. He said that the weak force was perhaps 
analogous to electromagnetism, in which the force between 
electrically charged objects is carried by bundles of light energy 
called photons. The corresponding weak carrier was called the 
W particle. All properties of this hypothetical W were known 
except for its mass. A breakthrough was made in recent years. 
Theorists Steven Weinberg. Gerhart 'tHooft, and Abdus Salam 
conspired independently to show that everything would fit, pro- 
vided the mass of the W was about 70 times the mass of the 
proton. In their theory, the photon (mass 0) and the W were two 
congenial members of one family, and Maxwell's and Fermi's 
theories were combined into one neat dogma that ruled over the 
electric spark, the dime-store magnet, and radioactivity. 

But there is still one crucial test. Does the W exist? To prove this 
takes higher energy than is currently available in any of the 
world's particle accelerators (atom smashers). A conventional 
accelerator would have to be 100 times larger than the one at 
Fermilab. the largest in the United States, or the-SPS, its Euro- 
pean rival. There is, however, a trick. If two particles, circulating in 
opposite directions in an accelerator, collide, the energy avail- 
able for making new objects is vastly greater than that obtaineo 
by simply smashing particles into a target at rest, Fermilab and 
SPS are racing to build facilities that will allow these collisions. 
The European scheme is scheduled to operate in late 1981 wrth 
collisions of protons and antiprotons having an energy of seven 
times the presumed mass of the W Our effort at Fermilab is 
behind by as much as six months to a year. However it will 
provide more than 30 times the energy needed to catch this 
object — sometimes called the scientific prize of the century. 

Culmination? Already there are hints of further synthesis, of 
also unifying the strong force with this new "electroweak" theory. 
To do this, the greater power of the Fermilab machine may be 
crucial. Orso say the Fermilab scientists, perhaps conceding the 
W to their European rivals, but determined to lead the next 
advance toward the grand objective— a complete world system. 
-LEON M. LEDERMAN. director of Fermilab 



Spot quiz: How do you 
hold [hree quarks together? 
Answer: With gluons. (Yes, 
the name comes from glue.) 

For over a decade, physi- 
cists faced with this quiz 
have done what most people 
would have done. They've 
guessed This past fall an in- 
ternational team of physi- 
cists, headed by Nobel 
laureate Dr. Samuel C. C. 
Ting, of the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, came 
up with evidence that the 
"gluon solution" was a pretty 
good guess. 

Using one of the world's 
most powerful colliding- 
beam accelerators, the 
PETRA, at the Deutsches 
Elektronen Synchrotron in 
Hamburg, West Germany, 
the physicists cranked up 
about 15 billion electron volts 
and smashed beams of 
electrons and positrons 
against one another From 

'.hat collision, in a time span 
of roughly one hundred- 
millionth of a second, came 
indirect evidence of a gluon. 

The gluon is a subatomic 
particle vital to the theory of 
quantum chromodynamics, 
or QCD, which is used to 
study and explain the world 
of the atom. Among other 
things, the theory holds that 
elementary parts of the 
atom's nucleus, such as pro- 
tons and neutrons, are made 
up of particles called 
quarks, a name lifted from 
James Joyce's Finnegans 
Wake . (As in the book, the 
word quark has no apparent 

The theory states that 
three quarks make up a pro- 
ton. To distinguish them, 
physicists assigned to each 
one a color— red, white, and 
(what else?) blue. Physicists 
call the force that holds 
these quarks together the 
color force, and they call the 
particle that carries this 

The PETRA: Beams of electrons and positrons were smashed 
together and revealed the trail of the elusive, but cohesive, gluon. ■ 
44 OMNI 

force the gluon. Without this 
particle, the QCD theory, like 
the hypothetical triplet of 
quarks, would fall apart. 

When the physicists exam- 
ined the detectors set up to 
study the aftermath of 
electron- positron collisions, 
they found traces of three 
streams, or jets, of energy. 
The two larger ones, they 
knew, were from the energy 
decay of quark/antiquark 
pairs. More important, they 
found a third, smaller 
stream — exactly what would 
be expected from the energy 
decay of a gluon. QCD is 
now safe— for a while. 

Most physicists agree that 
this is a Nobel-quality dis- 
covery. But since a total of 
more than 250 scientists 
contributed to the search for 
the gluon, no one has yet fig- 
ured out who should get the 
prize. — Douglas Cotligan. 


And now the latest news 
from the immunization front: 
A vaccine to prevent 
gaffkemia, the most deadly 
lobster disease, 

Gaffkemia, which is 
caused by a bacterium nor- 
mally present in 1 percent of 
the lobster population, has 
been a scourge in some 
lobster "pounds," where 
1,000 to 100,000 of the 
crustaceans are held for fat- 
tening and higher prices be- 
tween August and mid- 
winter. In Maine, the coun- 
try's leading lobster- 
harvesting state, about one 
quarter of the 16 million 
lobsters caught each year 
are held in these saltwater 
coastal pounds. There, 
gaffkemia. which is incur- 

able, wipes out about 
400,000 lobsters a year. In 
some pounds, the disease 
has been known to kill ev- 
ery lobster within two weeks 
In the past two years. 

however, the department of 
animal and veterinary sci- 
ences at the University of 
Maine has developed a vac- 
cine from dead gaffkemia 
cells. In a test with 20,000 
lobsters individually vacci- 
nated in the soft underside 
of their tails, the gaffkemia 
rate in one pound dropped 
from 12 to 3 percent. 

Robert C. Bayer, associate 
professor in the department, 

d that researchers are 
negotiating with a phar- 
maceutical company and 
that the vaccine will proba- 
bly go commercial within a 
year. — Stuart Diamond 

"He might have been a 
scientist if he had not been 
so versatile." 

— Giorgio Vasari 


A soiar-powered talking 
watch that not only literally 
'tells" the time but also nags 
you awake with such alarm 
messages as "Time to get 
up, go. go, go," will be 
marketed in January by the 
Windert Watch Company, of 
Los Angeles, California. 

Available in four 
languages— English, 
French, German, and 
Spanish— the talking 
timepiece will include an 
accumulating register 
snooze control that warns, 
"You are now ten minutes 
past your alarm time . . . you 
are now twenty minutes past 
your alarm time ..." 

Called the Communicator, 
the watch uses a 64-kilobyte 
chip (containing 64,000 
words of computer memory), 
which is twice as big as 
anything now on the market 
and which "should produce 
twice the voice clarity of 

Prototype o! the Winder! 
talking timepiece. 

present synthesizers," said 
Winder t's Alex Weiss. The 
watch will retail for less than 

Second-generation talking 
watches and clocks will be 
externally programmable 
and voice-identifiable. "The 
buyer will be able to request 
the message he wants, and 
we'll be able to do it in a 
celebrity voice," Weiss said. 
"Its only a matter of time 
before the Dick Tracy watch 
makes its appearance. 
Once we get to work on it, 
we'll have watches with TV 
screens and voice 
transmitters. The future is 
wide open."— Allan Maurer 


An all-out war between the 
United States and the Soviet 
Union would kill initially 
about 250 million people in 
both countries — slightly 
more than half their com- 
bined populations. Equally 
important, perhaps tens of 
miltions of people would con- 
tinue to die for years after- 
ward because of radiation 
from the initial attack and 
starvation and disease fol- 
lowing the collapse of each 
nation's industrial and social 
structure. ■ 

Those conclusions ware 
made recently by the con- 
gressional Office of Technol- 
ogy Assessment (OTA) for 
use in the Strategic Arms 
Limitation Treaty (SALT) dis- 
cussions. "Nuclearwar 
could reduce societies to 
medieval levels," it con- 
cluded. Food- and 
medical-delivery systems 
would be shattered. Trade 
would be local, not regional 
or national. Equipment 

would deteriorate and go un- 
repaired for lack of skilled 
labor. The psychological 
shock to each population 
would be enormous. The 
precise nature of these ef- 

There is one small conso- 
lation: Although an all-out 
war would probably kill more 
U.S. citizens initially be- 
cause Soviet weapons are 
larger and more Americans 

fects. however, cannot be 
precisely calculated, says 
the OTA. 

The OTA also analyzed 
three limited nuclear attacks: 
against a large city, oil re- 
fineries, and military targets. 
Even in these cases, the re- 
searchers said, "the impact 
. . . would be enormous," 
with the death toll as high as 
20 million. 

For an idea of the potential 
damage: A one-megaton 
atomic blast produces a 
fireball 2.5 kilometers wide. It 
would flatten everything in 
an area 50 percent larger 
than Manhattan, give people 
second-degree burns in an 
area eight times the size of 
Manhattan, and kill most 
people over an area the size 
of Rhode Island. 

live in cities, the Soviet 
economy would suffer more 
long-term damage because 
it is smaller and less 
efficient. — S.D 

"Discovery consists of 
seeing what everybody has 
seen and thinking what 
nobody has thought. " 
—Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi 

"As far as I can judge, I do 
not look upon any system of 
wireless telegraphy as a 
serious competitor with our 
cable lines. Some years ago 
t said the same thing, and 
nothing has since occurred 
to alter my views." 
—Sir John Wolfe-Barry, at a 
meeting of the stockholders 
of the Western Telegraph 
Company, 1907 




A Webster's unabridged 
dictionary of dream lan- 
guage will probably never 

see the light of day for the 

simple reason thai the mean- 
ings of specific dream sym- 
bols depend on the private 
lexicon of the dreamer. But 
certain universal themes 
tend to haunt the nocturnal 
repertories of all of us. and, 
according to a survey of ex- 
perls, this is whai they usu- 
ally mean; 

• Being chased: emofions 
out of control; events closing 
in on dreamer; guilt, or the 
dreamer's projection of sex- 
ual impulses onto others. 

• Falling: helplessness; loss 
of control; "fallen woman" 
self-concept (in women); a 
tall from grace; or the fall that 
follows a leap toward fhe 

• Losing a valuable object: 
loss of love; loss of status; 
guilt about irresponsibility. 

• Taking an exam: dreamer 
faces conirontalion with per- 
sonal-adequacy issues; 
dream of a long-past exam 
often comforts the dreamer 
with memory of past suc- 
cesses; sometimes exam 
dreams refer to sexual 
maturity. Freud himself was 
plagued with examination 

• Being caught naked or in- 
appropriately dressed: so- 
cial embarrassment; non- 
conformity or "specialness"; 
fear of being "seen 
through"; shame; vulner- 

• Losing teeth: anxiety 
about aging; loss of some- 
thing taken for granted; vul- 
nerability or powerlessness; 
being at a loss for words. 

• Flying: competence, 
power, mastery: spiritual up- 
liflment; sexual potency (in 

• Missing the boat (train, 
bus, plane): a missed oppor- 
tunity. Freud considered a 
dream of botched departure 
a reassurance against fear 
of death (fhe final 
journey). — Judith Hooper 

" Thai the Left in ihis country 
has never been enthusiastic 
about the space program is 
no surprise. The Left wanls 
to spend ail the available 
money on last month's social 

problem The reason for a 

similar lack of enthusiasm on 
the Right is more 
problematical. Just a guess: 
There is no private property 
in outer space, and the 
Vikings and Mariners and 
Voyagers and Pioneers can't 
kill Russians." 

—John Leonard, in 

The New York Times. 

September 12, 1979 


A Times Square traffic in 
footprints has been discov- 
ered in the Laetoli Beds of 
Tanzania by Drs. Mary 
Leakey and R. L Hay. 

Depressions in the sur- 
face of exposed rock have 
turned out to be footprints 
made more than 3 million 
years ago by various birds 
and mammals, including 
hares, rhinoceroses. 
elephants, hyenas, perhaps 
a large saber-toothed cat. 
giraffes, and buffaloes, and 
even, apparently, horninids, 
early ancestors of man. 

The footprints. Drs. 
Leakey and Hay write in Na- 
ture, were possibly pre- 
served by an unusual com- 
bination of climatic, volcanic, 
and rnineralogical conditions. 
It might all have occurred, 
they say, during the onset of 
a single rainy season that 
coincided with the eruption 
of light ash showers from a 

nearby volcano, Sadiman. 
The patterns left by the 
horninids show that ihey had 
begun to walk upright. While 
the patierns are still being 
examined, say Leakey and 
Hay. "it is immediately evi- 
dent that the Pliocene 
horninids at Laetoli had 
achieved a fully upright, 
bipedal, and free-striding 
gait— a major event in the 
evolution of man that freed 
the hands for toolmaking 
and eventually led to more 
sophisticated human 
activities." — Alton Blakeslee 


Dr James Duke, a 
botanist for fhe Department 
of Agriculture and chief of 
ihe USDA's Plant Taxonomy 
Laboratory, has returned 
from mainland China with 
four kilograms of a plant 
called the spiny ginseng. 
The herb was imported for a 
program run by the National 
Institutes of Health, which 
is looking for plant extracts 
that can be used to freat 

How effective is Ihis rare 
plant against cancer and 
other ailments? "The 
Chinese gave us some fig- 
ures for the spiny ginseng," 
Dr. Duke reports. "But these 
should be called uncon- 
trolled clinical studies, be- 
cause I didn't see them 

According fo the Chinese. 
says Duke, patienis afflicted 
with bronchitis who were 
treated with the herb showed 
an 80-percent improvement; 
for male impotence, the im- 
provement rate was 69 per- 
cent; for hypertension, a 63- 

to 90-percent improvement; 
andforcancerof the 
stomach, Duke quotes from 
the 39 patients had their 
lives extended one to 
four years beyond ex- 

Adds Duke, "Now, this was 
my interpretation of my in- 
terpreter! It was the most 
muddled part of the transla- 

Duke says he is personally 
not optimistic about either 
the spiny ginseng or its more 
abundant relative, the' com- 
mon ginseng plant, which is 
sold widely as a medicinal 
tea. He does think it might 
ameliorate the bad side ef- 
fects of chemotherapy, how- 

Could the spiny ginseng 
become a fad. as laetrile has 
become? "It's possible for a 
lot of Chinese folk medicine 
to get swallowed up by some 
people," Duke admits. "And 
the placebo effect is such 

thar. I might work for some." 
But it will beat least a year 
before NIH tests of the spiny 
ginseng are completed. 

—Joel Davis 


New light has recently 
oee.-i shed on one of ancient 
Egypt's most closely 
guardeo secrets, the loca- 
tion of the tomb of Imhotep, 
an astronomer-physician 
who lived approximately 
5.000 years ago, or some 
1 ,500 years before the boy- 
king Tutankhamun. 

George Michanowsky, a 
linguist and expert in ancient 
astronomy, discovered a clue 
to this mystery while de- 
ciphering hieroglyphic texts. 
He has since concluded that 
Imhotep's tomb can be 
found in an area south of the 
famous Step Pyramid at 

The tomb has long been 
sought by Egyptologists not 
only for the wealth of informa- 
tion it could provide about 
the eariy inhabitants of the 
Nile but also because Im- 
hotep was considered an 
unrivaled genius of his time. 
Prime minister to Pharaoh 
Djoser, he actually built the 
Step Pyramid, where Djoser 
is buried. 

Past searches for Im- 
hotep's iom.b have focused 
on the general area around 
this pyramid, since the an- 
cient Egyptians believed that 
those close to a pharaoh in 
life should be buried near 
him in death. 

lnthe1960sthelateW B. 
Emery undertook a massive 
excavation to uncover the 
tomb in the area north of the 
Step Pyramid, Up until 

Emery's death in 1971 , an in- 
credible number of mum- 
mified animals thought sa- 
cred to Imhotep were found, 
but no tomb. 
Michanowsky says Emery 

should have looked south of 
the pyramid, not north. He 
cites a hieroglyphic passage 
m which a scholar and con- 
temporary of King Tut is 
compared to the long-dead 
Imhotep. Both are reterred to 
as "offspring of Seshat," who 
was the patroness of 
scribes, scholars, and 

Michanowsky 's studies, 
put forth in his bookTne 
Once and Future Star , have 
established that this 
mythological figure was the 
star goddess oi the southern 
sky "A sage so closely asso- 
ciated with Seshat," reasons 
Michanowsky, "could only 
have been buried in a loca- 
tion south of the pyramid en- 
closure of the pharaoh he 

— Kathleen McAuliffe 


The natural-foods fad has 
led to the popularity of herb- 
al teas. But take note: 
Some herbal teas may be 
dangerous to your health. 

The Medical Letter on 
Drugs and Therapeutics re- 
cently listed some of the 
serious side effects from dif- 
ferent leaves, seeds, and 
flowers used in herbal teas. 
For example: 

• Herbal teas containing 
buckhorn bark and senna 
leaves caused severe diar- t 
rhea in s;x persons in New 
York and Pennsylvania. At 
least one person who drank 
half a cup of burdock-root 
tea ended up having hal- 
lucinations and exhibited 
bizarre behavior and 
speech, not to mention 
difficulty in defecating. 

• Licorice root in large 
amounts can cause hyper- 
tension, heart failure, and 
cardiac arrest. 

• Certain substances in mis- 
tletoe (which is used in some 
herbal teas) have the same 
effects in animals as the 
toxin in cobra venom. 

■ Ginseng, a root often used 
in teas, has been reported to 
cause swollen and painful 
breasts. (See "Ginseng and 
Cancer," opposite page.) 

■ Sassafras-root bark has an 
oil in it that is 70 percent saf- 
role, and safrole is car- 
cinogenic in animals. 

• And chamomile flower 
heads, used in one of the 
most popular of all herbal 
teas, can cause severe 
hypersensitivity in people al- 
lergic to ragweed. If you suf- 
fer from hay fever, it doesn't 
pay to drink chamomile 



And you thought the 
plumber was expensive! The 
U.S. space agency, NASA, 

a preliminary 

$300,000 to $500,000, plus 
the cost of each additional 
day in orbit, a person can 
have his or her payload 

plucked and returned trom 
cosmic heights. 

space-shuttle-services price 
list that is Iruly out of this 

You say you've got a bril- 
liant idea to build Ihe first 
space hotel , perfect for the 
tourist pining to really get 
away from it all? Hiring the 
necessary astro-workers is 
tentatively priced between 
$100,000 and $250,000(in 
1975 dollars) for each 
space-walking activity re- 
quired for the job. 

Keeping the space shuttle 
spinning around the earth 
for extra days increases your 
tab by $300,000 io $400,000 
per day. Just launching the 
shuttle on a typical mission 
rings up a rocket-bottom fee 
of approximately $28 

For a modest charge of 


With the space shuttle 
now up for rent, are regular 
space-commuler routes for 
average earfhlings far be- 

Mike Smith, chief of cus- 
tomer services for the NASA 
shuttle program, cautiously 
explains: "It's a misconcep- 
tion that the U.S. govern- 
ment will fly anything or any- 
body that asks for a launch. 
When we think of firing the 
shuttle, you just don't light 
those engines for a trivial 
purpose. The nation has to 
benefit in some significant 

As yet, the Space Admin- 
istration hasn't detailed an 
official policy. "What we 
would look for are what I call 
discovery people," Smith 
says. "These people would 

have the ability to make dis- 
coveries in space that will 
benefi! the public." 

For NASA, there is one ob- 
vious question: Would such 
discovery-oriented citizens 
be selected from just scien- 
tific disciplines, or are there 
other categories, such as 
the arts? 

Smith thinks so. "We've 
had inquiries by reputable 
people about flying musi- 
cians in orbit, where they 
could improvise their music. 
Perhaps some creative dis- 
covery in the arts could be 
made."— Leonard David 


This Christmas, when 
you're standing under the 
mistletoe or chopping on- 
ions for turkey stuffing, con- 
sider the fact that you'll be 
close to two potentially pow- 
erful medicines. 

The Druids prepared 
drafts of mistletoe as a cure 
for sterility and a remedy for 
poisons. Medieval herbalists 
recommended it as a tonic 
for nervous-system dis- 
orders and heart disease. 

Time marched on, and 
men thought of mistletoe 
only as an excuse for claim- 
ing kisses. 

Now, the magic powers of 
misiletoe are under scientific 
scrutiny Within the past 
decade an extract made 
from its twigs and leaves 
showed antitumor activity in 
mice that had cancer, 

A similar substance was 
used in Europe as 
chemotherapy for the treat- 
ment of postoperative 
cancer patients. 

Researchers think they 
have identified the secret in- 

gredient in mistletoe. "It 
might be an alkaloid," says 
Dr. Hasheem A. Khwaja, pro- 
fessor of pathology at the 
University of Southern 
California's Comprehensive 
Cancer Center in Los 
Angeles. Dr. Khwaja is con- 
tinuing his study of mistletoe 
in hopes of learning more of 
its medicinal secrets. 

Meanwhile, at East Texas 
State University, in Com- 
merce, researchers 
Katherine and Moses "Attrep 
are probing the effect of on- 
ions on high blood pressure. 
The Attreps have identified a 
prostaglandins compound 
in yellow onions that lowers 
blood pressure in rats. 

Dr, Moses Attrep says, "It 
is too soon to conclude thai 
onions are useful for blood- 
pressure control in humans. 
But the identification of pros- 
taglandin, in onions might 
explain why onion juice has 
long been a folk remedy." 

— Phyllis Wollman 


A common food clam 
mighl make a significant 
contribution to the treatment 
of kidney stones. 

Thesunray Venus (Macro- 
callista nimbosa) supports a 
targe fishery business in the 
Southeast and makes a 
good, sweet chowder. How- 
ever, fishermen for years 
have advised the removal of 
a "black gritty mass" from 
the ctams before they are 

Now Dc Bill Tiffany, of Mote 
Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, 
Florida, has made an 
interesting discovery. While 
studying the sunray's 
excretory system to see how 
the clam processes 
pollutants, he noticed that 
the gritty mass you're not 
supposed to eat was, in fact, 
a pile of kidney stones. The 
kidneys of the thousands of 
clams he opened were 
jam-packed with calcium 

phosphate stones. The 
majority of human kidney 
stones are calcium-based, 

Until Dr. Tiffany's discov- 
ery, scientists had no natu- 
rally occurring model on 
which to base their study of 
kidney-stone development. 
Tiffany plans to use his col- 
ony of sunrays as a living lab 
to investigate kidney-stone 
morphology. "The way is 
paved to treat these stones 
by dissolving them in place," 
he said. - 

In human beings, the only 
effective treatment for kidney 
stones is surgical removal. 

"It's difficult," the marine 
biologist asserted, "to use a 
human model and hit it with 
a variety of drugs that might 
dissolve kidney stones. 
However, there are very few 
ethical problems posed by 
doing this on a clam." 

How dissolving its kid- 
ney stones would affect M. 
nimbosa , which seems to 
function just fine with them, 
has yet lo be tested. 

-Kathleen Stein 


Three to six thousand 
years before the advent of 
surfboards, motorcycles, or 
hang gliders, members of 
the ancient "La Jolla Cul- 
ture," in southern California, 
had a life expectancy of only 
16 to 17 years. 

According to studies of 
skeletal remains conducted 
by scientists from Columbia 
University and the University 
of California at San Diego, 
the La Jolla Culture flour- 
ished— if you can caliit 
that— from 4500 to1000 B.C. 
along a 75-mile section of 
the Pacific Coast. Today the 

area is made up of the 
northern part of Baja Califor- 
nia and San Diego County. 
The La Jolla people are 
the oldest civilization i 

Slone Age La Jolla people 
were simple food gatherers. 
living on mollusks and other 
seafood and nuts, vegeta- 
bles, and wild grains that 

Western Hemisphere to have they ground with milling 

their life expectancy calcu- 

The next oldest people are 
the Mayans at Altar de Sacri- 
ficios, in Mexico, who lived 
between 1000 B.C. and A.D 
950, although no individual 
Mayan made it past age 

A short life expectancy in 
past eons was also the rule 
in the Eastern Hemisphere, 
the researchers say, and 
skeletons for analysis have 
traditionally been more plen- 
tiful in that half of the world 
than in the Western Hemi- 

Although today's southern 
Cati'ornians can plan to live 
to seventy-three, the Ameri- 
can average, they might look 
on the life-style of their pred- 
with envy. The 

stones and mortars, li was a 
righteous life, for sure. 

— Dava Sobel 

"Scientists, especially when 
they leave the particular field 
in which they have 
specialized, are just as 
ordinary, pig-headed, and 
unreasonable as anybody 

else " 

— H. J. Eysenck 

"Knowledge never hurts. It is 
the use of knowledge, what 
we call technology, that can 
heal or harm. In the hands of 
a Carnegie, a furnace makes 
steel, in the hands of a Hitler, 
it burns corpses." 

—Howard T. Markey, chief 

judge of the Court of 

Customs and Patent 




Computer scientists al 
Massachusetts Institute o( 
Technology have given an 
alarming analysis of the 
computer threat to human 
society. The scientists, 
speaking before !he World 
Conference on Failh. Sci- 
ence and the Future, stated 
thai computers were engulf- 
ing almost all functions of 
human society. 

Dr Joseph Weizenbaum, a 
computer scientist at MIT— 
and one of the pioneers in 
ihe field of artificial intelli- 
gence—said. "We are 
rapidly losing, have perhaps 
already lost, physical and 
mental control of our soci- 

The scientists said that 
computers are removing 
people from theirwork, be- 
coming more powerful than 
humans, and destroying 
people's self-image They 
also agreed that computers 

Weizenbaum' We m 
our right to pull the plug. 

50 OMNI 

are destroying the creativity 
in man. 

Going even further, they 
said that computers are tak- 
ing on a new role — that of 
expert diagnostician and 

Dr. Weizenbaum added, 
"Once we accept that 
human beings are ma- 
chines, merely symbolic 
manipulators and informa- 
tion processcrs, then the 
final step has been taken to 
replace the human species 
with a siliccn-based intelli- 

Will computers eventually 
take over completely? 
"People can still pull the 
computer's plug." Weizen- 
baum said. "However, we 
may have to work hard to 
even maintain that 
privilege."— Tom R. Kovach 


Strange shadows may 
crisscross the planei Mars in 
future years if space deci- 
sion makers and budgets 

As a follow-on to the Viking 
landers on Mars. NASA 
planners have created a 
wish list of unmanned 
probes to reconnoiter the red 
planet further. Among them, 
a Mars airplane— in effect, a 
mechanized-Martian ptero- 
dactyl — complete with out- 
stretched 21 -meter wings 
thai would ride the thin at- 
mosphere of Mars, 

'Initial schemes entail a vir- 
tual "Martian Air Force," with 
as many as 12 unmanned 
planes dispatched from a 
spacecraft/aircraft carrier 
orbiting Mars, 

Each plane would carry 
color-television cameras and 

sensitive instruments, drop- 
ping various probes at 
selected sites. Employing 
crash-avoidance radar and 
having a 10,000-kilometer 
range, the planes could 

po!a' .T.-ips. dive into can- 
yons, or circle the majestic 
volcanoes of Mars, 

Victor Clarke, a Jet Pro- 
pulsion Laboratory (JPL) en- 
gineer, envisions an eventual 

The Martian airplane would be a combination ol 'a U-2 spy plane 
(above) and a cruise missile ana' be powered by a hydrazine engine. 

reach any location on the red 
world, with the ability to land 
and take off. 

Part U-2, part cruise mis- 
sile, the Mars airplane is de- 
signed to stay alofi for 30 
hours, propeller-powered by 
a simple hydrazine engine, 
which requires no air for op- 

Abe Kerem, project en- 
gineer of the airplane for De- 
velopmental Sciences, be- 
lieves the design provides 
the "maximum data per dol- 
lar." Cpmpared tp Viking, 
building the airplane "would 
be a relatively easy task," 
Kerem claims. 

Television audiences on 
Earth would be treated to 
live Martian telecasts and be 
given a pilot's-eye view as 
the planes sweep over the 

manned version of the Mars 
plane. "There's enough 
weight-lifting capability tc 
carry an astronaut," Clarke 
asserts. Using a runway 
prepared by the Martian ex- 
pedition, the JPL space 
planner says, the airplane 
would be the "ideal com- 
plement to a manned mis- 
sion, allowing the mobility to 
fly around the planet." 


"My expectation is that the 
sky will fall. My faith is that 
there's another sky behind 

—Stewart Brand 

"Science has become adult; 

I am not sure whether 


—Victor Frederick Weisskopf 


Concern for the welfare of human 

guinea pigs has introduced needed safeguards that may 

frustrate the future of medical science 


| omebody always has to be the guinea pig, 
I because everything that's ever learned 
. aboul medicine gets tested, sooner or later, 
I on a human subject. Many of those subjects 
I have been scientists themselves, infecting 
their own bodies with myslery diseases or instruct- 
ing that certain surgical procedures be performed 
on them first. Many more have been palients whose 
doctors have "experimented" during therapy, trying 
several different paths toward a cure, And an untold 
number of humans have been the willing or unwitting 
subjects ol experiments performed not for their ben- 
efit but in the inlerest of science. 

Human experimentation is as fixed an element of 
research as theories or test tubes are. Yel the words 
make the skin crawl and conjure up visions of Nazi- 
doctor horrors and the brutal exploitation of prison- 

ers, poor people, and nospi;a! patients. Knowledge 
that such things can and do happen has gradually 
made suspect, for a variety ol ethical reasons, all 
kinds of human investigations — from test-tube fer- 
tilization to questionnaires on sex. Today new regu- 
lations have produced safeguards that have actu- 
ally stopped certain studies altogether, put limits on 
many others, and frozen the rest in landfills of red 
tape. We can't help wondering how all this will affect 
the future course of medical discovery. 

Consider the frustrations of Dr. Pierre Soupart. a 
professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Vander- 
bilt University, in Nashville. Tennessee. Soupart's 
goal is to study what he calls "the unknown realm of 
the first six days of pregnancy" — research that in- 
volves test-tube fertilization. But he has been unable 
to obtain a federal grant because, in August 1975, 



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the federal government withdrew funding 
of all projects involving the fertilization of 
human eggs in laboratory glassware. 

Apparently reeling under the ethical im- 
plications of this work, the Department of 
Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) 
charged ils Ethics Advisory Board with the 
task of considering the moral issues raised 
by test-tube fertilization. Unfortunately, the 
14 board members were not appointed 
until February 1978, and they made no rec- 
ommendations until March of this year 
when they deemed Soupart's work ethi 
cally acceptable. As of this writing, how- 
ever, HEW is still collecting public - 
sponse to the board's decision, and the 
ban remains in effect. So while Soupart 
continues to conduct peripheral studies 
and give lectures, other researchers at pri- 
vate American facilities proceed unhin- 
dered, And a baby named Louise Brown 
was born in England. 

Commenting on why his study has met 
such resistance. Soupart cites the "slip- 
pery slope argument." fear that once in- 
vito fertilization and embryo transfer are 
proved feasible, a brave new world of test- 
tube babies and imagined horrors will fol- 
low. Soupart's intention is not to produce 
test-tube babies. He is not even sure he 
would want to implant one of his labora- 
tory-bench embryos into a woman's body, 
although the Ethics Advisory Board sees 
nothing wrong with the idea, provided the 
sperm and ovum come from a married 

"In any kind oi human-subjects re- 
search." Soupart says, "the only way to 
determine the validity of the research 
proposal is by balancing the risks against 
the potential benefits. You don't get any- 
thing for nothing. So you must decide 
whether the benefits from the new knowl- 
edge justify the risks you take to get the 

And who should make that decision?The 
scientist who may underplay the risk? Or an 
athicist who may underestimate the bene- 

In the usual course of human-sub]ects 
research today, the subjects themselves 
are the ultimate judges: When a scientist 
applies for money to start a research proj- 
ect, the funding agency asks other scien- 
tists to review the idea. If these peers judge 
the experiment scientifically unnecessary 
or excessively risky, they kill it with their 
disapproval. In addition, the Institutional 
Review Board (IRB) at a scientist's home 
institution weighs the risk to human sub- 
jects and determines how the subjects will 
be informed of those risks, Even after get- 
ting IRB approval and agency funding, a 
scientist must still invite people to partici- 
pate as subjects, and they are free to say 
yes or no. 

Imagine Edward Jenner trying to per- 
form his landmark vaccination experiments 
in this climate. How likely would he have 
been to get institutional approval of plans 
to inject eight-year-old Master Phipps with 
fluid from a miikmaid ; s cowpox blister? And 

only two montns la:er ;o inoculate the same 
child with smallpox, the most dreaded dis- 
ease of the day. to test his hoped-for im- 

Beyond the protection of peer review 
and informed consent, a willing subject 
can sign the informed-consent papers, 
participate, and then decide later that he 
was not really fully informed. At that point 
he could sue the investigator for any ill ef- 
fects he felt he had suffered, Human- 
subjects research might thus become 
nearly as fertile a field for legal action as 
medical malpractice is. And in the social 
sciences, other ethical problems arise: 
Even if a subject agrees to answer survey 
questions about his criminal activities or his 
sexual preferences, how can we ensure 
that his answers are kepi confidential? 11 
someone gains access to the data files in a 
computer, what is a scientist's legal or ethi- 
cal liability? 

The problems have grown so tangled 
and so numerous that a new periodical 
called IRB appeared in March of this year, 
promising ten issues annually to help prac- 
titioners unravel "ethical dilemmas posed 
by research, regulations governing re- 
search, and the decision-making process 

The publisher of IRB is the Hastings Cen- 
ter, just outside NeW York City, where staff 
members make a practice oi considering 
unwieldy questions in biomedical and be- 
havioral research from the right to live to the 
right to die. When asked how the restric- 
tions on human-subjects research might 
affect important investigations in the nexf 
several years, medical ethics associate 
Robert Veatch said. "I don't think that any 
kind of drug- or disease-related studies will 
be hampered at all, We're convinced that 
these can be done ethically. But many 
kinds of social research that we've seen 
could not be funded in today's climate of 
ethical review." 


Popular concern for the welfare of 
human subjects is relatively new. This con- 
cern dates from the 1945-46 Nuremberg 
trials, when the crimes committed in the 
concentration camps were openly dis- 
cussed and moral codes for conducting 
"experiments" were formalized. Before 
that, all the way back through 4.000 years 
of records kept by doctor-priests and sci- 
entists who experimented on people, re- 
searchers had just let their conscience be 
their guide. 

Even after Nuremberg, there was no ap- 
preciable change in ethical standards. 
Many misguided zealots continued to in- 
volve human beings in dangerous experi- 
ments, with catastrophic results. As re- 
cently as 1966 a Harvard University physi- 
cian had to call public attention to the inex- 
cusable treatment of human subjects right 
here at home, in America's "leading medi- 
cal schools, university hospitals, private 
hospitals, military departments (the army, 
the navy, and the air force), governmental 

institutes (the Na: onal ins: tutes of Health). 
Veterans Administration hospitals, and in- 
dustry." Writing in the New England Journal 
of MQdicine (June 16, 1966), Dr. Henry K. 
Beecher cataloged example after chilling 

"Artificial induction of hepatitis was car- 
ried out in an institution for mentally de- 
fective children," Beecher reported. "The 
parents gave consent for the intramuscular 
injection or oral administration of the virus, 
but nothing issaic ■ecjarding what was told 
them concerning the appreciable hazards 
involved. . . . 

"Live cancer cells were injected into 22 
human subjects as part of a study of im- 
munity to cancer. According to a recent 
review, the subjects jhosnitalized patients] 
were 'merely told they would be receiving 
"some cells" ... the word cancer was en- 
tirely omitted. . . .' 

i "Twenty-six normal babies less than 48 
hours old . . . were exposed to X rays while 
their bladder was filling and during voiding. 
Multiple spot films were made to record the 
presence or absence of ureteral reflux. 
None was tound in this group, and fortu- 
nately no infection followed the catheteriza- 
tion. What the results of the extensive x-ray 
exposure may be, no one can yet say," 

Beecher said his point was not to identify 
or condemn individual researchers or even 
to document the worst cases he could find. 
Rather, he was trying to prove how many 
kinds of "ethical errors" were possible and 
how these would multiply as funding for 
medical research grew. 

Crying for a way to enforce "responsible" 
investigation, he suggested that journals 
refuse to publish results that were un- 
ethically obtained. And he implored re- 
searchers to "strive" to explain the aim of 
their experiments, and especially the 
hazards, to their potential subjects, so 
these people could either give informed 
consent or refuse to participate. 

The infamous "Tuskegee study" of 
syphilis, involving hundreds of intentionally 
untreated cases of the disease, was not 
even mentioned in Beecher's paper. This 
experimentation was sponsored by the Ve- 
nereal Diseases Division of the U.S. Public 
Health Service. The subjects of this re- 
search were 399 black men from Macon 
County, Alabama, all twenty-five years old 
or older, who were selected because they 
had advanced cases of syphilis and had 
never received any treatment for it. There 
was also a control group of 201 nonsyphilit- 
ic males, also black, and 275 more who 
had been inadequately treated for syphilis 
years before. The point of the study was to 
observe the men and trace the course of 
the untreated disease so as to understand 
its "natural history." 

In 1932, when the study participants 
were selected, penicillin was unknown, al- 
though mercury had been prescribed for 
syphilis since medieval times and newer 
treatments- (arsphenamine, introduced in 
1910, bismuth compounds, in 1922) were 
proving to be more effective. Many people 

witn syphilis never sought ireatment, yet 
they sometimes seemed to recover spon- 
taneously, leading -a ■'»■■.■■-■■ doctors to believe 
one might be better off without the danger- 
ous chemicals. Nobody knew (or sure, 
however, and that missing bit of knowledge 
ostensibly justified the study's objective. 

After the first critical report of the Tus- 
kegee activities appeared in The New York 
Times on July 26, 1972, -public interest and 
revulsion gathered .so quickly that the 
study was terminated within four months, 
and no monograph of the 40 years of data 
has yet been published. 

In America's prisons, men who served as 
"human experimental matera!" fared even 
■ worse, receiving $1 a day in 1971 to be fed 
vitamin-deficient diets through stomach 
tubes until they developed scurvy, to be 
exposed to cholera or poisonous insec- 
ticides, to receive (in 1962) toxic injections 
to test their pain tolerance, to submit to 
daily applications of caustic substances on 
their skin, to be bitten by mosquitoes for fen 
minutes at a time, or to have pieces of mus- 
cie Tissue removed irom their arms. 

When Jessica Mitford wrote her prison 
expose. Kind and Usual Punishment, in 
1971. a University of California scientist 
said to her. "If the researchers really be- 
lieve these experiments are safe for hu- 
mans, why do they go to the prisons tor 
subjects 7 Why don't they try them out in 
their own laboratories on students or other 
'free-world' volunteers? Because they 
know the university would never permit 
this. And, furthermore, it would never enter 
their minds to do these things to people 
they associate with in daily life. They make 
a clear distinction between people they 
think of as social equals or colleagues and 
men behind bars, whom they regard as 
less than human." 

The U.S. government began to phase out 
medical experiments in federal peni- 
tentiaries in 1973; and no new studies have 
since been started. The last ongoing fed- 
eral prison project ended in 1977, although 
there is still some scattered activity in a few 
state prisons. One of the decisive argu- 
ments against the use of prisoners — even 
when they "are fully informed and paid for 
their services— is that they are in no posi- 
tion to give consent with freedom of choice. 
("If a man is in a cell with several other 
violent men," one philosopher proposed to 
me, "and you offer him a private hospital 
room with a TV if he'll participate in an 
experiment, what do you think he'll say?") 
Drug companies, which relied on prison 
populations for testing new compounds, 
have turned to students and other so- 
called organized populations, just as Mit- 
ford's iriend suggested. The more dan- 
gerous experiments have apparently been 

As I write this, new evidence ol past ethi- 
cal infractions is emerging in Illinois, where 
the Cook County public guardian claims 
that researchers removed the adrenal 

5fi OMNI 

glands from an unknown number of mental 
patients at a University of Chicago hospital 
during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Offsetting the painful accounts of human 
exploitation are the unsung stories of ethi- 
cally conducted research and the tales of 
investigators who tried nothing on a human 
subject before putting themselves to the 
test first. Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, a medi- 
cal writer for The New York Times., has been 
collecting case histories for 15 years to 
write a book about autoexperimentation, 
which will be published soon by Random 
House. Chapters will tell oi: 

• Anton Siorck, of Austria, who swallowed 
hemlock in increasing doses for more than 
a week, proving in" 1 760 that the substance 
could be taken without undue danger for 
the treatment of cancer, tumors, ulcers. 
and cataracts: 

• William Stark, of England, who at age 
twenty-nine put himself on a diet of bread 
and water, variously augmented by sugar, 
eggs, olive oil. salt, figs, or various meats, 

iHuman experimentation is 

as fixed an element 
of research as theories or 

test tubes are. Yet 
the very words make the 

skin crawl and 
conjure up visions of Nazi- 
doctor horrors 3 

to-test which foods were "hurtful," which 
"innocent," He died for his efforts in 1 770. 
before his thirtieth birthday; 
• Roscoe R. Spencer, of Hamilton, Mon- 
tana, who administered to himself the first 
test on a human being of the Spencer- 
Parker Rocky Mountain jooited fever vac- 
cine in 1924; and 

■ Werner Forssmann, of Germany, who 
proved the feasibility of cardiac catheteri- 
zation in 1929, by maneuvering a 65- 
centimeter-long "well-oiled ureier cathe- 
ter" into a vein near his left elbow and on 
through to his heart, recounting later how 
"even the rather long trip in our institution 
from the operating room to the x-ray de- 
partment, during which I had to climb 
stairs, traveling on foot with the catheter 
located in the heart, was not associated 
with any annoyance." 

The federal authorities have no truck with 
self-experimenters because, clearly, those 
who subject themselves to their own re- 
search at least understand the risks in- 
volved, It's everybody else who needs pro- 

How can this be done? 

With money. Or, more specifically, with 

the threat of withholding money. 

The government, through HEW. will not 
fund any research that involves the unethi- 
cal treatment of human subjects. And if one 
lone researcher at an enormous university 
starts an experiment without first getting 
informed consent from the subjects, the 
entire institution could lose all its support 
from HEW and the'National Institutes of 
Health (NIH). The government requires 
every university receiving federal money to 
police its own scientists and has estab- 
lished laws and guidelines for doing so. 
Obey, or forfeit all grants; it's that simple. 

At large drug companies, where most 
research is funded by profit, the govern- 
ment exerts a different kind of leverage: All 
drugs and devices must be approved by 
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
before they can be sold. Steps toward ap- 
proval include animal trials and various 
tests on human subjects. And it the human 
experiments don't match the FDA's ethical 
standards (which approximate those of 
HEW), the drug will not be approved. 

Most human-subiects -esearch is now 
covered by these safeguards. But. accord- 
ing to Charles MacKay, deputy director of 
the NIH Office of Protection from Research 
Risk, no federal law applies to the goings- 
on in privately funded institutions. Thus, 
David Rorvik's tale of human cloning- 
financed in secret by a millionaire who 
wanted a son exactly like himself -was le- 
gally, ii not scienlif cally. "easible. 


The diverse kinds of valuable social re- 
search that Robert Veatch says "could not 
be funded in today's climate of ethical re- 
view" would probably include Stanley Mil- 
gram's "obedience experiments" at Yale in 
1960-62, where more than 1.000 partici- 
pants had to be misinformed in order to 
learn which behavior was the more typical: 
obedience to authority or compassion for a 
person in pain. Milgram. now a professor of 
psychology at the City University oi Mew 
York, described the work himself in his 
book Obedience to Authority; An Experi- 
mental View (Harper & Row. 1974). 

Milgram writes, "Two people come to a 
psychology laboratory to take part in a 
study of memory and learning. One of them 
is designated a teacher and the other, a 
learner, The experimenter explains that the 
study is concerned with the effects of 
punishment on learning. The learner is 
conducted into a room, seated in a chair, 
his arms strapped to prevent excessive 
movement, and an electrode is attached to 
his wrist, He is told that he is to learn a list of 
word pairs; whenever he makes an error, 
he will receive electric shocks of increasing 

"The real focus of the experiment is on 
the teacher. After watching the learner 
being strapped into place, he is taken into 
the main experimental room and seated 
before an impressive shock generator. Its 
main feature is a horizontal line of 30 
switches, ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts, 





bottom of our planet lies an environment 

that may be more 

alien than the far reaches of space. 

Its secrets may yield 

new breakthroughs in disease 

control, a deeper 

understanding of evolution, 

and even new 
supplies of food and water. 


Antarctica is a forbidding land. Winds blow 200 kilometers per hour or more, 
temperatures frequently drop below -50°C, and vast stretches of land are 
guarded by mountains. Antarctica is completely alien to this planet. 

The ultimate survival training area, the continent provides long periods of 
cold and isolation that test our ingenuity, technology, and stamina. Its pure, 
'nearly pristine environment is the site o! a great deal of basic research. 
Teams from around the world go to test equipment, the environment, its 
organisms, and, most of all, themselves.. This year the National Science 
Foundation will spend over $55 million to conduct research there, to study 
such diverse topics as the geological formation of the continent and the 
effects of temperatures on bacteria. NASA is searching there for ways to 
relieve the strain on people of long periods of confinement. The long Antarctic 
winters are idea! for testing the isolation stress that slowly erodes the stability 
of astronauts during our prolonged manned space missions. 

(Preceding page) A view through Arch Iceberg; Bull Pass in the Olympus Mountain 
Range. tieUi remnants t:i Wright Lowe: Glacier- Hop) ice Stranded by a low tide in 
the Litchfield Islands; (bottom) volcanic cinders and ice in the Dailey Islands 

The crystal-clear atmosphere of the White Continent will soon be home lo 
our newest telescope, designed to look at the upcoming peak of sunspot 
activity. Locating the telescope in Antarctica will enable researchers to 
observe the sun for extended periods at a constant altitude. 

Antarctica may also be a source of food for the world's -ever-growing 
population. Off its coast is the breeding ground of the krill, asmallsfrirnpl <c 
creature that is the main food for many, whale species, including the sei, fin, 
and blue. Krill harvesting is now expanding rapidly in the hope that the 
animal's high protein content can be adapted for human use. But some 
' environmentalists fear that we may cut otf the whales' source of food. The 
issue, so far unresolved, is currently under investigation. 

Even more controversial is a scheme to tow icebergs from Antarctica— 
which contains over 80 percent of the world's fresh water supply ■ to the 
world's arid regions. As Saudi Arabian engineers search for ways to keep the 
bergs from melting in fransit, scientists are trying to assess the impact this 
project might have on global climates. 

Although the White Continent has been studied intensively for the pasi 25 
years, we have uncovered only a tiny fraction of its secrets. Vast reaches of 
knowledge remain to be explored. But even as we search for greater under- 
standing, we can take a moment to wonder at Antarctica's beauty. DO 

(Above and right) Two views ol ice caves at Hut Point Peninsula, sile ol the camp 
established by the English explorer Robert F. Scott on his first expedition, in 7907. 

^Locating the solar telescope 

there will let researchers see the sun more 

clearly than ever before.^ 



Science could conquer 

death, she knew. But could she deal 

with what came after death? 




becca Ho 

stood trembling with anticipation beside the 
Plexigias tank that contained the corpse of her 
husband. Archer. 

A maelstrom o! conflicting emotions raged 
within her: fondness, yearning, awe. lust, trium- 
phant satisfaction, fierce |oy. and an under iayero - ' 
tearall trying to coexist in the same skull. Perhaps 
no. one in all human history had experienced that 
precise mix ol emotions, for her situation was 
close to unique. Because she was who and what 
she was, it would shortly lead her to develop the 
first genuinely new motive tor murder in several 
thousand years. 

"Go ahead," she said aloud, and eight people 
in white crowded around the transparent 
cryotank with her. In practiced silence, they 
began doing things. 

John Dimsdale touched her shoulder. "Reb," 
he said softly "come on. Let Ihem work." 


"Reb, the first part is not pretty. I think you 
should " 

"Dammit, I know that!" 

"I think," he repeated insistently, "you should 
come with me." 

She stiffened, and then she saw some of the 
things the technicians were doing. "All right. Doc- 
tor Bharadwaj!" 

One of the white-suited men looked up irritably. 


"Call me before you fire the pineal. With- 
out fail." She let Dimsdale lead her from the 
room, down white-tiled corridors, to 

Bharadwaj's offices. His secretary looked 
up as they entered and hastened to open 
the door leading into the doctor's inner 
sanctum for them. Dimsdale dismissed 
him, and Rebecca sat down heavily in the 
luxurious desk chair, putting her feet up on 
Bharadwaj's desk. They were both silent for 
perhaps ten minutes. 

"Eight years," she said finally. "Will it re- 
ally work, John?" 

"No reason why it shouldn't," he said. 
"Every reason why it should." 

"It's never been done before." 

"On a human, no. Not successfully. But 
the problems have been solved. It worked 
with those cats, didn't it? And that ape?" 

"Yes, but-" 

"Look, Bharadwaj knows perfectly well 
you'll have his skull for an ashtray if he fails. 
Do you think he'd try it at all if he weren't 

After a pause she relaxed. "You're right, 
of course." She looked at him then, really 
seeing him for the first time that day, and her 
expression softened. "Thank you, John. I 
, . , thank you for everything. This must be 
even harder for you than it—" 

"Put it out of your mind." he interrupted 

"I. just feel so—" 

"There is nothing for you to feel guilt over, 
Reb," he insisted. "I'm fine. When . . . when 

love cannot possess, it Is content to serve. 

"Who said that?" 

Dimsdale blushed. "Me," he admitted. 
'About fifteen years ago." And frequently 
thereafter, he added to himself. "So put it 
out of your mind, all rigtit?" 

She smiled. 'As long as you know how 
grateful I am for you. I could never have 
maintained Archer's empire without you." 

"Nonsense. What are your plans — for af- 
terward. I mean?" 

"When he's released? As few as possi- 
ble. I thought he might enjoy a cruise 
around the world, sort of a reorientation. But 
I'm quite content to hole up on Luna or up in 
Alaska instead, or whatever he wants, As 
long as I'm with him, I ..." 

Dimsdale knew precisely how she felt. 
After this week it might be weeks or years 
before he saw her again. 

The phone rang, and he answered it. 
"Right. Let's go, Reb. They're ready," 

The top ot the cryotank had been re- 
moved now, allowing direct access to 
Archer Howell's defrosted body. At present 
it was only a body - no longer a corpse, not 
yet a man. It was "alive" In a certain techni- 
cal sense, in that an array of machinery 
circulated its blood and pumped its lungs; 
but it was not yet Archer Howell. Dr. 
Bharadwaj awaited Rebecca Howell's 
command, as ordered, before firing the 
complex and precise charge through the 
pineal gland that, he believed, would re- 
store independent life function— and 

consciousness -to the preserved flesh. 
"The new liver Is in place and functioning 

correctly," he told her when she arrived, 

"Indications are good. Shall I — " 

'At once." 

"Disconnect life-support," he snapped, 
and this was done. As soon as the body's 
integrity had been restored, he pressed a 
button. The body bucked in its Plexiglas 
cradle, then sank back limply, A technician 
shook her head, and Bharadwaj, sweating 
profusely, pressed the button a second 
time. The body spasmed again— and the 
eyes opened. The nostrils flared and drew 
in breath; the chest expanded; the fingers 
clenched spasmodically. Rebecca cried 
out, Dimsdale stared with round eyes, and 
Bharadwaj and his support team broke out 
in broad grins of relief and triumph. 

And the first breath was expelled. In a 
long, high, unmistakably infantile wail. 

Rebecca Howell's mind was both tough 
and resilient, The moment her subcon- 
scious decided she was ready to handle 
consciousness again, it threw off heavy 
sedation like a flannel blanket. In the next 
room, the physician monitoring her telem- 
etry started violently, wondering whether he 
could have catnapped without realizing it. 

"What's wrong?" Dimsdale demanded. 

"Nothing. Uh. she ... a second ago she 
was deep under, and—" 

"Now she's wide awake," Dimsdale 
finished. "All right, stand by," He got up 

Musk by 
English Leather. 
The civilized # 
way to roar. 

In the wilds, an animal's roar '-*- 
everyone know he's there. 
What man needed was a civil. — 
way to roar. Now he has it: Musk by 
English Leather.® Earthy. Primitive. 
Fiercely masculine. Let it provoke 
your instincts. 

And there's a complete line of 
grooming gear. So you can ro 
id rrroar with After 
Shave or Cologne. 

stiffly and went to her door. "Now comes the 
"nard part." he said, too softly lor the other to 
near Then he squared his shoulders and 
went in. 
"Reb. . ." 

"It's all right. John. Truly. I'm okay. I'm 
terribly disappointed, of course, but, when 
you look at it in perspective, this is really 
just a minor setback." 
"No," he said very quietly. "It isn't." 
"Of Gourse it is. Look, it's, perfectly obvi- 
ous what's happened. Some kind of 
cryonic trauma's wiped his mind, All his 
memories are gone. He'll have to start over 
again as an infant. But he's got a mature 
brain, John. He'll be an adult again in ten 
years, you wait and see if he isn't. I know 
him. Oh, he'll be different. He won't be the 
man I knew; he'll have no memories in 
common with that man. and the new 'up- 
bringing' is bound to alter his personality 
some, I'll have to learn how to make him 
iove me all over again. But I've got my 
Archer back!" 

Dimsdale was struck dumb, as much by 
admiration for her indomitable spirit as by 
reluctance to tell her that she was dead 
wrong. He wished there were some honor- 
able way he could die himself. 

"What's ten years?" she chattered on. 
oblivious, "Hell, what's twenty years? We're 
both forty, now that I've caught up with him. 
With the medical we can afford, we're both 
good for a century and a quarter. We can 
have at least sixty more years together. 
That's four times as long as we've already 
had! I can be patient another decade or so 
for that." She smiled, then became busi- 
nesslike. "I want you to start making ar- 
rangements for his care at once. I want him 
to have the best rehabilitation this planet 
can provide, the ideal childhood. I don't 
know what kind of experts we need to hire. 
You'll have to — " 

"Wo/" Dimsdale cried. 

She started, and looked at him closely. 
"John, what in God's name is wrong with — " 
She paled. "Oh my God, they've lost him. 
haven't they?" 

"No," he managed to say. "No. Reb, they 
haven't lost him. They never had him." 

"What the hell are you talking about?" 
she blazed. "I heard him cry, saw him wave 
his arms and piss himself. He was alive." 

"He still is. Was when I came in here, 
probably still is. But he is not Archer 

"What are you saying?" 

"Bharadwaj said a lot I didn't under- 
stand. Something about brain waves, 
something abou radically diherent indices 
on the something-or-other profile, some- 
thing about different reflexes and different 
_. . he was close to babbling. Archer was 
born after the development of the brain 
scan; so they have tapes on him from in- 
fancy. Eight experts and two computers 
agree. Archer Howell's body is alive down 
the hall, but that's not him in it. Not even the 
infant Archer. Someone completely differ- 
ent." He shuddered. "A new person, A new, 
forty-year-old person." 

"I never knew 
gold mm 
tasted like 

That's the reaction that's made 
Puerto Rican Gold Rum one of the 

fastest growing liquors in America 
today. It's the smooth alternative to 
bourbons, blends, Canadians- 
even Scotch. 

Try our Gold Rum with soda, 
ginger ale, or on the rocks. The 
first sip will amaze you. The second 
will convert you. 

Make sure the rum is Puerto 
Rican. The people of Puerto Rico 
have been making rum for almost 
five centuries. Their specialized 
skills and dedication result in arum 
of exceptional taste and purity, 

No wonder over 85% of the rum 
sold in this country comes 
from Puerto Rico. 


Aged for smoothness and taste. 

Oept. OW-4, 1290. A' 


The doctor outside was on his toes, feed- 
! ing tranquilizers and sedatives into her sys- 
tem in a frantic attempt to keep his telem- 
etry-readings within acceptable limits. 
But her will was a hot sun. burning the fog 
oft her mind as fast as it formed. "Impossi- 
ble," she cried, and she sprang from the 
bed before Dirnsdale could react, ripping 
tubes and wires loose. "You're wrong, all ot 
you. That's my Archer!" 

The doctor came in last, trairfed and 
ready for anything, and she kicked him 
square in the stomach and leaped over him 
as he went down. She was out the door and 
into the hallway before Dirnsdale could 
reach her. 

When he came to the room assigned to 
Archer Howell, Dirnsdale found Rebecca 
sitting beside the bed, crooning softly and 
rocking back and forth. An intern and a 
nurse were sprawled on the floor, the nurse 
bleeding slowly from the nose. Dirnsdale 
looked briefly at the diapered man on the 
bed and glanced away. He had once liked 
Archer Howell a great deal. "Reb — " 

She glanced up and smiled. The smile 
sideswiped him. 

"He knows me. I'm sure he does. He 
smiled at me." As she spoke a flailing hand 
caught one of hers, quite by accident. 
"See?" It clutched, babylike but with adult 
strength. She winced but kept the smile. 

Dirnsdale swallowed. "Reb. it's not him. I 
swear it's not. Bharadwaj and Nakamura 
are absolutely " 

The smile was gone now. "Go away, John. 
Go far away, and don't ever come back. 
You're fired." 

He opened his mouth and then spun on 
his heel and left. A few steps down the hall 
he encountered Bharadwaj, alarmed and 
awesomely drunk. "She knows?" 

"If you value your career, Doctor, leave 
her be. She knows, and she doesn't believe 

Three years later Rebecca summoned 
him. Responding instantly cost him much, 
but he ignored that part of it. He was at her 
Alaskan retreat within an hour of the sum- 
mons, slowed only by her odd request that 
he come alone, in disguise, and without 
telling anyone. He was brought to her den, 
where he found her alone, seated at her 
desk. Insofar as it was possible for one of 
her wealth and power, she looked like hell. 

"You've changed. Reb." 

"I've changed my mind." 

"That surprises me more." 

"He's the equivalent of a ten- or a 
twelve-year-old in a forty-three-year-old 
body. Even allowing for all that, he's not 

"You believe in brain scans now?" 

"Not just them. I found people who knew 
him at that age. They helped me duplicate 
his upbringing as closely as possible." 
Dirnsdale could not guess how much that 
had cost, even in money. "They agree with 
the scans. It's not Archer" 

He kept silent. 

"How do you explain it. John?" 

"I don't." 

"What do you think of Bharadwaj's idea?" 

"Religious bullshit. Or is that redundant? 

1 'When you have eliminated the impos- 
sible . . . ' " she began to quote. 

". . . there's nothing left," he finished. 

"If you cannot think of a way to prove or 
disprove a proposition, does that make it 

"Damn it, Rebl Do you mean to tell me 
you're agreeing with that hysterica! Hindu? 
Maybe he can't help his heritage, but you?" 

"Bharadwaj is right." 

"Jesus Christ, Rebecca," Dirnsdale 
thundered, "is this what love can do to a 
fine mind?" 

She overmatched his volume. "I'll thank 
you to respect that mind." 

"Why should I?" he said bitterly. 

"Because it's done something no one's 
ever done in all history. You cannot think of a 
way to prove or disprove Bharadwaj's be- 
lief. No one else ever has." Her eyes 
flashed. "But / have." 

He gaped at her. Either she had com- 
pletely lost her mind, or she was telling the 
truth. The two seemed equally impossible. 

At last he made his choice. "How?" 

"Right here at this desk. Its brain was 
more than adequate, once mine told it what 
to do, I'm astonished it's never occurred to 
anyone before." 

"You've proved the belief in reincarna- 
tion. With your desk." 

"With the computers it has access to. 
That's right." 

He found a chair and sat down. Her hand ' 
moved, and the chair's arm emitted a drink. 
He gulped it gratefully. 

"It was so simple, John. I picked an arbi- 
trary date from twenty-five years ago, 
picked an arbitrary hour and minute. That's 
as close as I could refine it; death records 
are seldom kept to the second. But it was 
close enough. I got the desk to -" 

"-collect the names of all the people 
who died at that minute!" he cried, slop- 
ping his drink. "Oh my God, of course!" 

"1 told you. Oh, there were holes all over. 
Not all deaths are recorded, not by a damn 
sight, and not all ot the recorded ones are 
nailed down to the minute, even today. The 
same with birth records, of course. And the 
worst of it was that picking a date that far 
back meant that a substantial number of 
the deaders were born before the brain 
scan, giving me incomplete data." 

"But you had to go that far back," 
Dirnsdale said excitedly, "to get live ones 
with jelled personalities to compare." 

"Right," she said, and she smiled ap- 

"But with all those holes in the data—" 

"John, there are fifteen billion people in 
the solar system. That's one hell of a statis- 
tical universe. The desk gave me a tentative 
answer. Yes, I ran it fifteen more times, for 
fifteen more dates. I picked one two years 
ago, trading off the relative ambiguity of 
immature brain scans for more complete 
records. I got fifteen tentative yeses. Then 1 

correlated all (risen and got a oef nils yes " 

"But— but, damn it all to hell, Reb, the 
goddamn birthrate has been rising since 
forever! Where the hell do the new ones 
come from?" 

She frowned. "I'm not certain. But I've 
noted fhat the animal birthrate declines as 
the human increases." 

His mouth hung open.. 

"Don't you see, John? You're a religious 
fanatic, too. The only difference between 
you and Bharadwaj is lhat he's right. Rein- 
carnation exists." 

John finished his drink in a gulp and 
milked the chair tor more. 

"When we froze Archer, he died. His soul 
went away. He was recycled. When we 
forced life back into his body, his soul was 
elsewhere engaged. We got potluck." 

The whiskey was hitting him. 'Any idea 

"I think so. Hard to be certain, of course, 
but 1 believe the man we revived was a 
grade-three mechanic named Big Leon. 
He was killed on Luna by a defective lock 
seal, at the right instant." 

"Good Christ!" Dimsdale gof up and 
began pacing around the room, "is that 
why there are so many freak accidents? 
Every time you conceive a child you con- 
demn some poor bastard? Of all the 
grotesgue — " He stopped in his tracks. 
stood utterly motionless for a long moment, 
and whirled on her. "Where is Archer now?" 

Her face might have been sculpted in 

ice. "I've narrowed it down to three pos- 
sibilities. I can't pin it down any better than 
that. They' re all eleven years old, of course. 
All male, oddly enough. Apparently we 
don't change sex often. Thank God." 

She looked him sguare in the eyes. "I've 
had a fully equipped cryolheater built onto 
this house. His oociy's already been retro- 
zen. There are five people in my employ 
who are comoeten: enough to set this-up so 
it cannot possibly be traced back to me. 
There is not one of them I can trust to have 
that much power over me. You are the only 
person living 1 trust that much, John. And 
you are not in my employ." 

"God damn it-" 

"This is the only room in the system that I 
am certain is not bugged. John. I want 
three perfectly timed, untraced murders." 

"But the bloody cryotechs are wit- 

"To what? We'll freeze and thaw him 
again, hoping that will bring him out of it 
somehow. From Ihe standpoint of conven- 
tional medicine it's as good an idea as any. 
No one listened: tc Bharadwaj. No one's got 
any explanation (or Archer's change. And 
no one but you and I knows the real one for 
certain. Even the desk doesn't remember." 
She snorted. "Nine more attempted de- 
frostings since Archer, none of 'em worked, 
and still nobody's guessed. There's a 
moratorium on defrosting, but it's unofficial. 
We can do it, John." She stopped, sat back 
in her chair and became totally expression- 

less. "If you'll help me." 

He left the room, left the house, and kept 
going on foot. Four days later he re- 
emerged from the forest, bristling with 
beard, his cheeks gaunt, his clothes torn 
and filthy Most of his original disguise was 
gone, but he was quite unrecognizable as 
John Dimsdale. The~security people who 
had monitored him from a distance brought 
him to her. as they had been ordered, and 
reluctantly left him alone with her 

"I'm your man," he said as soon as they 
had gone. 

She winced and was silent for a long 

"You'll have to kill Bharadwaj. too." she 
said at last. 

"I know." 

Rebecca Howell gazed again at the de- 
frosted thing that had once been Archer 
Howell, but the torrent of emotions was 
tamed this time, held in rigid control. /( may 
not work on this shot, she reminded herself. 
I'm only guessing that his soul will have an 
affinity lor his old body. He may end up in a 
crib in Bombay this time. She smiled. But 
sooner or later I'll get him. 

"Seriora. it would be well to do it now." 

The smile vanished, and she turned to 
the chief surgeon. "Doctor Ruiz-Sanchez. I 
said twelve hundred hours. To the second. 
You have made me repeat myself." 

Her voice was quite gentle, and a normal 
man would have gone very pale and shut 
up. but good doctors are not normal men, 
"Seriora. the longer he is on machine life- 
support " 

"HUMOR ME'" she bellowed, and he 
Sprang back throe steps anc tripped over a 
power cable, landing heavily on his back. 
Technicians jumped, then went expression- 
less and looked away. Ruiz-Sanchez got 
slowly to his feel Hexing his -ingers. He was 
trembling, "Si seriora." 

She turned away from him at once, re- 
turning to contemplation of her beloved. 
There was dead silence in the cryotheater, 
save for the murmur and chuckle of life- 
support machinery and the thrum of power- 
ful generators. CryoJecfinotogy is astonish- 
ingly power-thirsty , she reflected. The "re- 
starter" device alone drank more energy 
than her desk, though it delivered only a 
tiny fraction of that to the pineal gland. She 
disliked the noisy, smelly generators on 
principle, but a drain this large had to be 
unmetered. Especially if it had to be re- 
peated several times. Mass murder is 
easy, she thought. All you need is a good 
mind and unlimited resources. And one 
trusted friend . 

She checked the wall clock. It was five 
minutes of noon. The tile floor felt pleasantly 
cool to her bare feet; the characteristic 
cryotheater smell was subliminally in- 
vigorating. "Maybe this time, love," she 
murmured to the half-living body. 

The door was thrown open, and a guard 
was hurled backward into the room, land- 
ing asprawl. Dimsdale stepped over him, 
breathing hard. He was wild-eyed and 


A new superpower has 

joined the big leagues of international 

science and technology 



The $300-miiii'.)n SpacelaO. aocve 
and a! tight, now under construction in 
Bremen. Germany, will fly 
aboard rne United States' space shuttle. 


For several years I had been hearing 
scieniisis say thai Western Europe — 
the long-ago birthplace of modern 
science — was undergoing a scientific and 
technological renaissance. 

The reports, from biologists, physicists, 
and researchers in other fields, were simi- 
lar: After many false starts and disap- 
pointed efforts to recover its pre World 
War II scientitic glory, the Old World was 
suddenly astir with ambitious, well-fi- 
nanced, high-quality research As a result, 
the American scientitic community is start- 
ing to have company on the frontiers of 
scientilic achievement 

But my contacts were talking of a renais- 
sance, an odd choice of word. I thought, 
since over the past two decades Europe 
has scarcely resembled a scientific or 
technological desert. After all. the genetic 
code was broken in British laboratories. 
France has become a self-made, lull- 
lledged nuclear power, complete with in- 
tercontinental missiles, and the superpro- 
ton synchrotron operated by a European 
consortium near Geneva. Switzerland, is 
the most powerful atom smasher in the 
world Furthermore, over the past 20 years 
European researchers have garnered 
about one third of the Nobel prizes for sci- 

My informants nonetheless, persisted. 

saying that these showpiece accomplish- 
ments of European research should not di- 
vert attention from the fact that something 
new and important had pervaded the ecol- 
ogy of European science and technology, 
And what that amounted to, they said, was 
that Europe had evolved past isolated peak 
climbing toward across-the-board excel- 
lence in virtually all fields of research. 

So I went to have a look, spending a 
month visiting some of Europe's major re- 
search centers as well as tiny laboratories 
and government research ministries, talk- 
ing, along the way, with laboratory workers. 
their front-office administrators, and the 
government officials who control the money 
tor research. In this last group was one of 
the shrewdest and best-qualified observ- 
ers of the trans-Allantic scientific scene: 
Pierre Aigrain. the French secretary of 
Stale lot Research, a position akin to White 
House science adviser. A Carnegie Tech 
Ph.D. in electrical engineering and, over 
the years, the occupant of high govern- 
ment and industrial posts in France. Ai- 
grain pul the matter quite simply: "The 
United Stales hasn't slipped,"" he said. "It's 
just that we've gotten better. Twenty years 
ago the United States was doing eighty 
percent of the world's good science 
Europe has been catching up. and the U.S. 
share of the total has therefore been going 

down. If the United Stales wishes to main- 
tain its former lead in proportion of GNP 
devoted to research and development, it 
would have to quadruple currenl spending, 
which is out of the question." 

Western Europe is undergoing a scien- 
tiiic and technological renaissance The ef- 
fects are already being felt— with more io 
come — not only within the world commu- 
nity of science but even more so in politics 
and economics, which are increasingly af- 
fected by the ability to turn knowledge into 

The key to understanding this new re- 
naissance is that it is taking place despite 
Europe's political fragmentation and diver- 
gent national interests, Though none of the 
individual European nations is a match for 
either of the two great superpowers, the 
nations of Europe collectively comprise a 
formidable assemblage of intellectual 
power and physical resources. And what 
this adds up to is a rapidly growing ability to 
compete in the international big leagues of 
science and technology. 

The results are to be seen in such basic 
procedures as neutron scattering, a tech- 
nique for studying the distribution of neu- 
trons in the atomic nucleus as a means of 
probing the fundamental structure of mat- 
ter. The acknowledged leader in this field ot 
research is the Institut von Laue-Langevin, 
jointly operated by a nonprofit corporation 
backed by France. Great Britain, and West 
Germany. They are also to be found in the 
products of high-lechnology manufacture, 
as was demonstrated last year by Eastern 
Airlines' decision to buy a fleet of the 
European-built, wide-body. A-300 Air- 
bus—the first time that a major U.S. carrier 
has gone abroad to purchase big planes, 
With the completion earlier this year of the 
first stages of a French-led multibillion- 
dollar uranium-enrichment facility, Eurodif, 
Europe is now self-sufficient in the man- 
ufacture of nuclear fuel; previously most ot 
its enriched uranium was obtained from the 
United States. And in space research and 
commercial applications, for which Europe 
has long been dependent upon American 
and Sovietjaunch vehicles, self-sufficiency 
is also on Ihe'way as the European Space 
Agency, Europe's counterpart of NASA. 

nears lull-scale production of Europe's first 
heavy-duty rocket, the three-stage Ariane. 

To examine the origins and potential of 
the revivification of science on its historic 
breeding grounds, it is helpful to ignore the 
most conspicuous symbol of European col- 
laboration, the nine-nation (soon-to-be- 
expanded) Common Market. The Market 
works well for agriculture, steel making, and 
oratorical posturing, but it provides a poor 
framework for scientific and technological 
cooperation. Science and technology re- 
quire sensitive administration and insula- 
tion from quick-payoff demands — and 
that's hard to get from nine sovereign na- 
tions at variance with one another, 

So let's forget about grand designs — 
■they are plentiful, but mainly confined to 
paper — and instead, as a first step, let's 
look into a laboratory that typifies the ability 
of Europe's scientists to practice the col- 
laboration of which European politicians so 
often speak. 

Situated in the French alpine city of Gre- 
noble is the Institut von Laue-Langevin 
(ILL), home of the Franco-German-British 
high-flux reactor, the world's most powerful 
facility for generating neutrons to probe the 
basic structure of matter. ILL (pronounced 
"eel") is named after two luminaries of 
twentieth-century physics, Germany's Max 
von Laue, who was awarded the 1914 
Nobel Prize in physics for research on X 
rays, and France's Paul Langevin. a col- 
league of Pierre Curie and a pioneer in 
magnetic and ultrasonic research. ILL 
functions on a budget ot about S30 million a 
year, and it would cost some $250 million to 
duplicate it at today's prices, It is a 
showplace.of expensive, cutting-edge sci- 
ence, rated recently by the U.S. Office of 
Naval Research — whose roving teams sys- 
tematically monitor European science — as 
"the de facto international center" for 
small-angle neutron scattering, ILL is a 
center of fundamental science; its quest is 

The computer control center above is pan of a 
24-computer arra 1 / used to control the 400-GeV 
superproton synchrotron at CERN near 
Geneva. Also at CERN, the imposing ranks ot 
machinery at right typify this muttibiliion-dc-Uar 
it-nation high-energy-physics center 

• There is no pressure for 
us to produce. 
and consequently we 
innovate, because 
there is no pressure.*! 

for knowledge, rather than economic 

ILL is essentially a factory for producing 
neutrons, firing them at minuscule particles 
of biological and polymeric substances, 
and learning about the targets' internal 
structure by studying the subatomic ef- 
fects produced by the impact. ILL'S neu- 
trons, originating in a 57-megawatt high- 
flux reactor, are both hot and cold; cold 
neutrons, chilled by Ifquid deuterium at 
—248° C, compose the most intense cold- 
neutron beam yet achieved. The neutron 
technique provides analytical capabilities 
not possible with X rays or optical spec- 
troscopy. With their electrical neutrality, 
neutrons can penetrate the electron shells 
of atoms and interact with the nucleus. The 
reason why they are so potent for providing 
information about structure is that, be- 
cause of their short wavelength (of the 
same order of magnitude as the distances 
between atoms in matter), they are scat- 
tered upon impact with a "target," and their 
dispersal patterns, read with sensitive 
equipment, provide a "picture" of the 
target's interior. The technique, known as 
small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), 
"has developed principally in Europe." the 
Office of Naval Research reports; "it Is 
clear that Europeans have led the world in 

Elegant is the word often applied to ILL'S 
scientific operations; the same can be said 
of its political genesis, organization, and 
day-to-day management. ILL was con- 
ceived in the mid-1960s through a happy 
convergence of physics and politics. With 
Charles de Gaulle preaching the Impor- 
tance of the Old World regaining the scien- 
tific and technological eminence that it lost 
to the United States because of World War 
II. the atmosphere was favorable for French 
scientists to propose grand plans to their 
government. At the same time, West Ger- 
many was entering the industrial boom that 
was to make it the Continent's strongest 
economic power. Recognizing the close re- 
lationship between industrial innovation 
and a strong scientific base, the German 
government was similarly interested in 
high-quality science. Those Franco- 
German political stirrings coincided with 
technological developments that promised 
both unprecedented neutron-beam inten- 
sities and more sensitive means for study- 
ing their effects, 

Because of Great Britain's traditional 
strength in nuclear research, the Franco- 
German partners proposed that the United 
Kingdom join in a consortium for construct- 
ing and operating a laboratory that, from 
the start, would be the world's finest neu- 
tron-research facility Economically ailing 
Britain demurred on austerity grounds, and 
the French and the Germans went ahead, 
accepting the French government's offer to 
provide a site adjacent to a major nuclear- 
research centerlLL reached lull power in 
1971. The British changed their minds in 
1973, pitched in with a retroactive one-third 
share of the construction costs, and be- 
so OMNI 

came a full-fledged partner. 

Organized as a private corporation fi- 
nanced by the science-support agencies 
of the three countries, ILL operates under a 
charter that specifies that the lab's direc- 
torship must rotate between British and 
German nationals; French citizens are 
ruled out, The current director, Dr. John 
White, an Oxford University physicist, ex- 
plained to me that the French insisted on 
excluding themselves from the top post as 
a symbol of the internationalism of the labo- 

Though ILL has a full-time staff of 75 
physicists and 30 students working on 
Ph.D. theses, it is what is known as a "user" 
laboratory, which means that the staff is 
there to keep ILL running smoothly for ex- 
periments designed and performed by 
outside scientists, mostly from European 
universities and government laboratories. 
Last year 860 experiments were proposed. 
720 were approved, and 1,700 "scientific 
visits" were made to ILL. 

^Eastern Airlines' order of 23 

wide-body planes 

from Airbus Industrie, a 

partnership of 

France, Germany, Britain, and 

Spain shows how 

America is losing its hold over 

high technology 9 

The current director, Dr. John White, who 
will be succeeded as director next year by 
a German physicist, Tasso Springer, spar- 
kles with pride over ILL's preeminence and 
notes, with a competitive glint in his eyes, 
that as the United States is seeking to catch 
up in neutron research, ILL's three-nation 
partnership has approved a $25-million 
modernization program for the Grenoble 

Meanwhile, with neutron scattering 
rapidly advancing as a research technique 
in Ihe biological sciences, the European 
Molecular Biology Organization, another 
manifestation of Europe's scientific rebirth, 
is constructing a laboratory near ILL. 

White and Springer see ILL as having a 
role far beyond its research programs. In- 
ternational scientific collaboration, they 
point out, is a peculiar and, at first, difficult 
form of activity, because of problems of 
language, national pride, concern about 
"fair return" on investment, durability of in- 
terest among the politicians who pay the 
bills, and so forth. ILL, they observe with 
satisfaction, has shown thousands of 
young European scientists how a few coun- 
tries can turn their convergent scientific in- 

A persistent, though actually obsolete, 
rule of thumb about European science and 
technology is that the further a research 
subject is from commercial application, the 
easier it is to achieve-collaboration. This is 
said to account for the failure of Euratom, 
the Common Market's feeble nuclear R&D 
agency. Its individual members wanted 
that nuclear market for themselves. Con- 
versely, it is said to account for the success 
of such big basic science ventures as ILL 
and CERN (Centre Europeen pour la Re- 
cherche Nucle'aire), the quarter-century- 
old, multibillion-dollar, 11-nation high- 
energy-physics center near Geneva. Since 
neutron scattering and atom smashing 
consume money— lots of it — and produce 
no salable products, there's a strong incen- 
tive to split the costs. Another case in point 
is the Common Market's decision to coop- 
erate in constructing an experimental fu- 
sion reactor— a so-called tokamak. known 
as the Joint European Torus — on a site 
next to Britain's Culham fusion laboratory. 
Since fusion is not expected to pay off for 
25 or 30 years— if ever— no European na- 
tion is eager to go it alone in the construc- 
tion of a supermachine that's intended to 
do no more than prove that fusion energy is 
physically attainable and controllable. 

That's the presumed rule of European 
collaboration in R&D. If it's likely to produce 
revenue, they won't team up. However, in 
Europe's accelerating scientific renais- 
sance the rule no longer holds, as several 
of Europe's industrial competitors in the 
United States and elsewhere have regret- 
fully learned. Today's reality is that Europe's 
high-technology organizations have de- 
vised a variety of elaborate combinations 
for pooling their strengths, with outstanding 

Consider, for example, Airbus Industrie, 
which at nine years of age is now second 
only to world-leading Boeing in the man- 
ufacture of civil aircraft. What is Airbus In- 
dustrie? It is 37.9-percent French, 37.9- 
percent German, 20-percent British, and 
4.2-percent Spanish. Unlike the politically 
motivated and financially disastrous 
Anglo-French Concorde SST collaboration, 
the Airbus consortium had money-making 
as its goal from the start, And in a brutally 
competitive industry Airbus appears to be 
well on the way to profitability, with its 
wide-body, low-fuel-consumption A-300 
accounting for almost 40 percent of the 
world's wide-body sales this year. Eastern 
Airlines' break with tradition — it has or- 
dered 23 A-300s and has taken options on 
another 9 — is regarded by economists as 
perhaps the most decisive evidence yet 
that America's long postwar dominance of 
"big ticket" high technology is now seri- 
ously challenged. 

For an illuminating example of another 
area in which European collaboration is 
mounting a challenge, let's look at space 
exploration, an activity whose entry fees 




"Not a creature was 

stirring ..." But the toys were busy 

planning their strategy! 


It's Christmas Eve, Com- 
mander Robin," the Spaceman said. "You'd better 
go to bed or Santa won't come." 

Robin's mother said. "That's right, Robin, Time to 
say good night" 

The little boy in blue pajamas nodded,. but he 
made no move to rise. 

"Kiss me." said Bear. Bear walked his' funny, 
waddly walk around the tree and threw his arms 
about Robin, "We have to go to bed, I'll come, too." It 
was what he said every night. 

Robin's mother shook her head in amused de- 
spair. "Listen to them," she said. "Look at him. Ber- 
tha, He's like a little prince surrounded by his court, 
How is he going to feel when he's grown and can't 
have transistorized sycophants to spoil him all the 

Bertha the robot maid nodded her own almost 
human head as she put the poker back in its stand. 
"That's- right, Ms. Jackson. That's right tor sure." 

The Dancing Doll took Robin by the hand, making 
an arabesque penche of it. Now Robin rose. His 
Qja'dsrnen formed up and presented arms. 

"On the other hand," Robin's mother said, "they're 
children only such a short time," 

Bertha nodded again. "They're only young once, 
Ms. Jackson. That's for sure. All right if I tell these 
little cute toys to help me straighten up after he's 

The Captain of the guardsmen saluted with his 
silver saber, the Largest Guardsman beat the tattoo 
on his drum, and the rest of the guardsmen formed a 
double file. 

"He sleeps with Bear." Robin's mother said. 

"I can spare Bear. There's plenty of others." 

The Spaceman touched the buckle of his antigrav- 
ity belt and soared to a height of four feet like a 
graceful, broad-shouldered balloon, With the Danc- 
ing Doll on his left and Bear on his right, Robin 


toddled off behind the guardsmen. Robin's 
mother ground oul her last cigarette ot the 
evening, winked at Bertha, and said, "I 
suppose I'd better turn in, too. You needn't 
help me undress. Just pick up my things in 
the morning." 

"Yes urn. Too bad Mr. Jackson ain't here, 
it bein' Christmas Eve and you expectin' an' 

"He'll be back from Brazil in a week I've 
told you already. Bertha, your speech 
habits are getting worse and worse. Are 
you sure you wouldn't rather be a French 
maid ior a while?" 

"Maize none, Ms. Jackson. I have too 
much trouble talkin' to the men that comes 
to the door when I'm French." 

"When Mr. Jackson gets his next promo- 
tion, we're going to have a chauffeur," Rob- 
in's mother said. "He's going to be Italian, 
and he's going to stay Italian." 

Bertha watched her waddle out of the 
room. 'All right, you lazy toys! You empty 
them ashtrays into the fire an' get everythin' 
put away. I'mgoin' to turn myself off, but the 
next time I come on this room better be 
straight or there's goin' to be some broken 
toys aroun' here." 

She watched long enough to see the 
Gingham Dog dump the contents of the 
largest ashtray on the crackling logs, the 
Spaceman float up lo straighten the maga- 
zines on the coffee table, and the Dancing 
Doll begin to sweep the hearth. "Put your- 
selfs in your box," she told the guardsmen, 
and then she turned off. 

In the smallest bedroom, Bear lay in Rob- 
in's arms. "Be quiet," said Robin. 

"I am quiet," said Bear. 

"Every time I am almost gone to sleep, 
you squiggle." 

"I don't," said Bear. 

"You do." 



"Sometimes you have trouble going to 
sleep, too, Robin," said Bear. 

"I'm having trouble tonight," Robin coun- 
tered meaningfully. 

Bear slipped from his arms, "I want to 
see if it's snowing again." He climbed from 
the bed to an open drawer and from the 
open drawer to the top of the dresser. It was 

Robin said, "Bear, you have a circuit 
loose," It was what his mother sometimes 
said to Bertha. 

Bear did not reply. 

"Oh, Bear," Robin said sleepily a moment 
later. "I know why you're antsy. It's your 
birthday tomorrow, and you think I didn't get 
you anything." 

"Did you?" Bear asked. 

"I will," Robin said. "Mother will take me 
to the store." In half a minute his breathing 
became the regular, heavy sighing of a 
sleeping child. 

Bear sat on the edge of the dresser and 
looked at him, -Then he said under his 
breath, "I can sing Christmas carols." It had 
been the first thing he had ever said to 
Robin, one year ago. He spread his arms. 

84 OMNI 

All is calm, all is bright. It made him think of 
the lights on the tree and the bright fire in 
the living room. The Spaceman was there, 
but because he was 'the only toy who could 
fly, none of the others liked the Spaceman 
much. The Dancing Doll was there, too. The 
Dancing Doll was clever, bul . . . well — he 
could not think of the word. 

He jumped down into the drawer on top 
of a pile of Robin's undershirts, then out of 
the drawer, and softly to the dark, carpeted 

"Limited," he said to himself. "The Danc- 
ing Doll is limited." He thought again of the 
fire, then of the old toys— the Blocks Robin 
had had before he and the Dancing Doll 
and the rest had come, the Wooden Man 
who rode a yellow bicycle, the Singing Top. 

The door of Robin's room was nearly 
closed. There was only a narrow slit of light, 
so that Robin would nol be afraid. Bear had 
been closing it a little more each night. Now 
he did not want to open it. But it had been a 
long time since Robin had asked about his 

'Charge!' we . . . all run." 
The Largest Guardsman 
said, "I'll beat my drum." 

"You'll beat the 
enemy, or you'll go into 

the fire with the 
rest of us," Bear saM.9 

Wooden Man. his Singing Top, and his "A" 
Block, with all of its talk of apples and 
acorns and alligators. 

In the living room, the Dancing Doll was 
positioning the guardsmen, and all the 
while the Spaceman stood on the mantel 
and supervised. "We can get three or four 
behind the bookcase." he called. 

"Where they won't be able to see a thing." 
Bear growled. 

The Dancing Doll pirouetted and 
dropped a sparkling curtsy. "We were 
afraid you wouldn't come," she said, 

"Put one behind each leg of the coffee 
table." Bear told her. "I had to wait until he 
was asleep. Now listen to me, all of you. 
When I call, 'Charge!' we must all run at 
them together. That's very important. If we 
can, we'll have a practice beforehand." 

The Largest Guardsman said, "I'll beat 
my drum." 

"You'll beat the enemy, or you'll g.o into 
the lire with the rest of us," Bear said. 

Robin was sliding on Ihe ice. His feet 
went out from under him and right up into 
the air so that he fell down with a tremen- 
dous BUMP that shook him all over, He 
lifted his head, and he was not on the fro- 

zen pond in the park at all. He was in his 
own bed. with the moon shining in at the 
window, and it was Christmas Eve ... no, 
Christmas Night now . . . and Santa was 
coming. Maybe he had already come. 
Robin listened for reindeer on the roof and 
did not hear the sound of any reindeer 
steps. Then he listened for Santa eating the 
cookies his mother had left on the stone 
shelf next to the fireplace. There was no 
munching or crunching. Then he threw 
back the covers and slipped down over the 
edge of his bed until his feet touched the 
floor. The good smells of tree and fire had 
come into his room. He followed them out of 
the room, ever so quietly, into the hall. 

Santa was in the living room, bent over 
beside the tree! Robin's eyes opened until 
they were as big and as round as his 
pajama buttons. Then Santa straightened 
up, and he was not Santa at all, but Robin's 
mother in a new red bathrobe. Robin's 
mother was nearly as fat as Santa, and 
Robin had to put his fingers in his mouth to 
keep from laughing al the way she puffed 
and pushed at her knees with her hands 
until she stood straight. 

But Santa had come! There were toys- 
new toys everywhere under the tree. 

Robin's mother went to the cookies on 
the stone shelf and ate half of one. Then she 
drank half the glass of milk. Then she 
turned to go back into her bedroom, and 
Robin retreated into the darkness of his 
own room until she had passed. When he 
peeked cautiously around the door frame 
again, the toys — the New Toys— were be- * 
ginning to move. 

They shifted and shook themselves and 
looked about. Perhaps if was because it 
was Christmas Eve. Perhaps it was only 
because the light of the fire had activated 
their circuits. But a clown brushed himself 
off and stretched, and a raggedy girl 
smoothed her raggedy apron (with a heart 
embroidered on it), and a monkey gave a 
big jump and chinned himself on the next- 
to-lowest limb of the Christmas tree. Robin 
saw them. And Bear, behind the hassock of 
Robin's father's chair; saw them, too. Cow- 
boys and Native Americans were lifting the 
lid of a box. and a knight opened a 
cardboard door {made to look like wood) in 
the side of another box (made to look like 
stone), letting a dragon peer over his 

"Charge!" Bear called. "Charge!" He 
came around fhe side of the hassock on all 
fours like a real bear, running stiffly but very 
fast, and he hit the Clown at his' wide 
waistline and knocked him down, then 
picked him up and threw him halfway to the 

The Spaceman had swooped down on 
the Monkey; they wrestled, teetering, on top 
of a polystyrene tricycle. - 

The Dancing Doll had charged fastest of 
all, faster even than Bear himself, in a 
brealhtaking series of jetes, but the 
Raggedy Girl had lifted her feet from the 
floor, and now she was running with her 
toward the fire. As Bear struck the Clown a. 


A remarkable eye for the order 
that underlies our complex world 
has made this microbiologist 
an articulate spokesman for 
science, the environment, and life 


The list of Rene Dubos's accomplishments is nearly endless: 
Fully 40 years ago he extracted the first commercial antibiot- 
ic, gramicidin, from soil microbes that he found on the 
grounds of Rockefeller University. It was a major step in opening 
the age of "wonder drugs," an age whose assumptions he has 
unceasingly questioned. 

In 1942 his young first wife died of the then-dreaded disease 

tuberculosis, He soon devised techniques that made it possible to 

induce tuberculosis in mice, hastening the development of the first 

TB vaccine. Since then, his labors have borne satisfying fruit: 

I dozens of scientific awards and honorary degrees, world renown 

E as an activist thinker on medical, social, and ecological issues, 

t and a Pulitzer Prize for his 1968 book. So Human an Animal. 

° Rene Qubos has come a long way from the small agricultural 

| village north'of Paris where he was born 78 years ago. but in many 

§ ways he has remained close to the soil. He studied agronomy as 

£ an undergraduate and turned to bacteriology after reading a 

popular-science article during a lunch break from his work as 
assistant editor of an agricultural journal in Rome. Even today he 
finds pleasure and renewal in planting trees at his country retreat 
on the Hudson River, 

His life has been shaped almost by accident. While working in 
Rome, Dubos met an American — by sheer chance, a bacteriolo- 
gist who directed a laboratory at what is now Rutgers University, 
where Dubos took his doctorate. The American's studies im- 
pressed him with the adaptability of life, a theme that has animated 
his work ever since, In 1927 he moved to Rockefeller University, 
where (save for two years at Harvard) he has been a researcher 
and teacher extraordinaire all his professional life. 

Early on, he pondered the importance of multiple factors- 
stress, nutrition, heredity, psychology— in evoking disease. Even- 
tually he came to believe that illness is only the final act of a sad 
drama involving many actors, not an absolute state dependent 
only on the presence of hostile "germs." Today these ideas are 

taken lor granted, but in the 1940s and 1950s Dubos's skills as a 
teacher and lecturer played an important part in weakening the 
hold of the single-factor theory of disease. 

He did not stop with educating his colleagues. Since the mid- 
19403 he has reached out to laymen in books and articles, stress- 
ing again and again that health and a humane way of life can never 
come from a narrow view of medicine and biology. Although not a 
physician himself, he became known as "the conscience of 
medicine." Long before it was fashionable, he pointed out the 
dangers of exploiting our environment; and today, that point 

made, hedoesncl 'lesitatotorisKh f, popularity by proclaiming his 
optimistic view of science in our future. 

Despite his years, Dubos energetically pursues the Greek ide- 
■als of reflection and action. He teaches, writes, organizes confer- 
ences, is preparing a television series on the environment, serves 
on advisory boards, and, in general, brings all his personal and 
protessional knowledge to bear in shaping the future, He is effer- 
vescent, charming, and vigorous. Where~does all that energy 
come from? Omni interviewer Claire Warga began their conversa- 
tion by trying. to find out. 

Omni: The psychologist ..,ulian Jaynes ar- 
gues that the gods of mynology were really 
voices from the righl hemisphere of our 
brain. In your book A God Within, you de- 
scribe certain almost godlike forces in us. 
Where do those forces come irom? 
Dubos: I came to the term the god within 
after reading a speech that Pasteur made 
about a-hundred years ago, in which he 
tried to explain the achievements of great 
men by their endowment with enthusi- 
asm—from entheos. Greek for "the god 
within." That impressed me, for I realized 
that the great achievers I have known all 
seem to be possessed, almost compelled 
to act. by some kind of spirit. And in looking 
around the world, I saw that landscapes 
and cultures had a genius of their own, 
something that made them special and dif- 
ferent from one another. 

When I began my working life in Rome, I 
sensed very soon how profoundly different 
Italian culture was from my native French 
culture, despite many historic similarities. 
As soon as you step into the streets of 
Rome, you can sense it: an expression of 
something luminous in the landscape and 
history that is independent of the daily life. 
When I arrive in Paris, I am immediately 
aware of the other kinds of vibrations, polit- 
ical and intellectual; I always have the feel- 
ing that I have arrived on the eve of a revo- 
lution. And when I arrive in New York, then I 
am certain that it has already occurred! 

In Great Britain the Irish, the Welsh, the 
Scots, want to affirm their national identity. 
In France, the people from Brittany and the 
south are trying to rediscover what is pecu- 
liar to them, even though France has been 
united and centralized for so long. So it 
seems to me that the genius of each part of 
the world is creative and important, that a 
landscape or a culture — or a person — is 
successful to the extent that some unique 
inner structure finds expression. That's 
what I call the god within. 
Omni: What can science tell us about that 
uniqueness? Neurophysiologists such as 
John Eccles and Wilder Penfield have 
asserted that no matter how completely we 
map the structure of the brain, we will not 
be able to account for everything about the 

Dubos: I'm sure most scientists would re- 
ject that view, and when I wear my "scien- 
tist hat." I say that the mind is an expression 
of the brain. But deep in my heart I believe 
that the mind will never be totally explained 
by what we know or can hope to know 
about the brain. 

88 OMNI 

Omni: Do you sue o:her limits to scientific 

Dubos: We can perceive the world only 
through our sense organs and our brain. 
But they have evolved in relation to only 
limited aspects of reality, not to the totality 
of creation. I think that's the fundamental 
limitation — that we can perceive only that 
to which we have adapted during evolution. 
Omni: What about determinism and free 
will? As an experimental biologist, you 
have relied throughout your career on 
assumptions of cause and effect, yet you 
have written that free will directs our' behav- 
ior more than determinism does. 
Dubos: I believe that completely. Let me 
give you examples; Seven or eight years 
ago, when I was still a laboratory scientist, I 
wrote So Human an Animal. It was subtitled 
How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and 
Events. Indeed, all of the papers I pub- 
lished were demonstrations of the lasting 
effects of early influences. 

Now, I can recognize in my own speech, 
my behavior, my attitudes, my beliefs, the 
influence of France and Italy and. the 
United States. But the fact is that at the age 
of twenty, for no good reason. I decided to 
go to Italy; three years later, for no good 
reason, I decided to come to the United 
States. I had bear well accepted in France, 
where my family still lives. I was fairly suc- 
cessful and accepted in Italy. But some- 
where in me was a desire for experience, 
for adventure, and I find it hard to reconcile 
that exploratory impulse with a purely de- 
terministic point of view. 

Soon the one hand I believe in biological 
determinism, and on the other hand I be- 
lieve that we are free to do certain things at 
critical limes. And about four years ago I 
wrote a book, in French, entitled Choosing 
to Be Human. 

Omni: You have drawn a distinction be- 
tween individuality and personality. Can 
you elaborate on that? 
Dubos: I def\:w. :~divic]L/aiiiy biologically: It 
is the organiza! on that makes an organism 
function in a certain way, the biological as- 
pect of the uniqueness of each organism. 

I use the word personality to represent 
the sum of the interventions one makes, in 
which one declares, in one way or another, 
"I want this kind ot life." It is choosing your 
persona, or the mask you want to wear. It's 
very difficult to defend all of this scientif- 
ically, but I believe it intensely. 

This way of thinking, oddly enough, 
leads to my attitude toward the environ- 
mental movement. Most of my colleagues 

in this movement say, "You must respect 
nature: you must not disturb it." 
Omni: Those are the people you call the 
Franciscan conservationists, after St. 
Francis of Assisi? 

Dubos: Yes. those who say, "Nature 
knows best; so don't disturb it." Now, many 
people say that, but nobody practices it. I 
have a much greater attachment for the 
philosophy of the Benedictines, who see 
their role as being partners of God in com- 
pleting the act of creation. They accept that 
in being human on Earth, you are given raw 
materials and you create something that 
benefits humanity. 

Omni: But couldn't a strip-mining advo- 
cate or an oil company also lay claim to that 

Dubos: Yes, but the Benedictine type of 
intervention is in harmony with the rest of 
nature. I believe we have the right to use 
petroleum products, but we must learn to 
do it in a way that does not damage nature. 
If, for example, we are going to grow plants 
for biomass energy, we must do it without 
ruining the esthetic quality of the environ- 
ment. We need to introduce ethical and 
esthetic values into technology. 
Omni: People used to consider that nature 
was wild and bestial, something to be 
feared. But now our mastery over it makes 
us feel that it is something to be used. Are 
we simply imposing our own order with 
such an attitude, or is there an order inher- 
ent in nature? 

Dubos: I think the human brain introduces 
higher levels of order within the complex 
scheme of nature, suborders that, for 
human beings at least, have a higher level 
of meaning. I say "for human beings at 
least" to accommodate my iriends who 
ask, "What about the cockroach's point of 
view?" To them I respond, "Well, I don't 
know." I have a peculiar faith that our point 
of view is higher than that of any other crea- 
ture, but I have no way of proving it. I make 
no bones about being terribly anthro- 
pocentric. I have accepted that without 
being able to defend it. 
Omni: Do you think the environmentalists' 
message is making headway? 
Dubos: There is still a great deal to be 
done, ol course, but I've seen enormous 
strides. In 1973 I was asked by Japanese 
national television to speak there about the 
environment. At that time you could not see 
Fujiyama from Tokyo. A1 the end of 1977 I 
was asked to go there again, this time by 
the newspapers, and from my hotel I could 
see the mountain. The Japanese govern- 



of the Ancienl World. Unforlu 

cept (or the pyramids of Egypt, these 
„.jhts had all been destroyed by the 
twelfth century.ThetoLtrJstt ""'" 

]#mv . ma i*. 



>uld have to be 17 miles 
>e 17-mile-high Yonkers 

craft to fake off directly into their 

Babylon look like potted plants. Straddling the three moons o( the 
let Perian, the bridges are adorned with Egyp 
ry 100 meters along their 108-million-kilome 

are so named because they are tattooed repeate^,, 

" TEGi-ADORN(ieft) 

j used on the pianet Concorde for 

composing any substance, including hurr " 
nicies to be transmitted to another Tegladom, You simply stand 
ath it and push a button. The FLOATING CITY OF 

£RNY (far left) is a seif-supporting metropolis that floats in an 

orbit 3.000 kilometers above the surface of the planet Straff.OQ 

" j*^W ■■■;; 


Unorthodox racing cars were Sam's joy, 
no matter what the weather 



Sinca no one in the 
motoring press was 
cleared to report the 
truth behind Sam's 
scariest race, I guess it's up 
to me. i was in the pits with 
him that day while Pentagon 
people tied trom the 
grandstands. And before 
that I had helped Sam 
prepare the car - the only 
Nash Metropolitan ever to 
enter an international race, 
they say. And beiore 
that— well, maybe I should 
start with Sam's letter from 
the Defense Department. 

The Department of 
Defense has sponsored 
some fairly implausible 
schemes over the years, but 
nothing quite so bizarre as 
this, it began as an official 
request for proposals. I 
peered over Sam's shoulder, 
curious to see why he was 
chortling at registered mail, 
and I supposed that the 
letterhead must have been 
half of a sinister joke and that 
the details made up the 
other rjalf. At the time we 
■were in Sam's living 

quarters, which are in his 
surplus hangar, where he no 
longer builds his legendary 
race cars for serious 

Sam's outlook dates from 
the day he sneaked computer 
time from Lockheed to get 
predictions of trends in auto 
racing -the same day he 
retired. He flatly refuses to 
furnish details about the 
future of racing, beyond a 
few horrilic hints and a jerk of 
a rjrizz'cd thumb toward his 
close-cropped gray thatch. 
Hishair had been as black 
as his cuticles until the day 
he scanned that filched 

Sam dropped the letter on 
the machinist's surface 
plate, a huge granite slab he 
uses as a drafting and 
dinner table, then resumed 
cleaning up the mess he'd 
made building the Sudden 
Blizzard Machine. The less 
said about the ill-fated 
Blizzard Machine, the better, 
It's enough to report thai I 
l'e:pec Sam stow sheets of 
magnesium-thorium alloy. 

rolls of quartz tape, a spare 
peroxide turbine, and jigs for 
a drive gear that had been 
two-and-a-half meters high 
before it departed, ah, 

As Sam's only helper I'm 
equivalent, among the 
sporty car set, to Leonardo 
da Vinci's janitor. I get 
calluses, welder's eyestrain, 
amine rash, and filament 
itch, but I get bags of status, 
too. I leaned against the 
vacuum milling machine that 
Sam had bamboozled from 
Avco, happy to see the final 
vestiges of his unfortunate 
design disappear as he fed 
brownline prints into his 
stove, a vapor deposition 
furnace that he "found" at 
Rockwell. I chased down a 
last sketch with my broom 
and handed it to him with 
relief. "Never again," I said. I 
sweep clean, but I'm no 

Sam regarded me from 
under his eyebrow thickets, 
and there was something 
jnreacabie in his glance. 
"Not enough pressure," he 

drive gear?" 

A snort: "On me, of 
course. I do my best design 
work under pressure, Y'know, 
I really oughta do something 
abo.il mat. Starting today." 

"On what? I thought you 
wcrD through with serious 

"I am." Scratching the 
g r ay stubble on his jowls, 
bc-ginning to chuckle again 
as he spied that portentous 
letter, he continued, "But I 
know when the gummint 
plays a joke on itself. Read it 
and see, and don't bother 
me for a while." He grabbed 
an apple from the surface 
plate, bit into the fruit, and 
wandered off, 

I pulled up a drafting stool 
and forgot Sam, and that's 
always a mistake. The 
further I read into the letter. 
the more awesomely 
genuine it seemed: The 
DO.D. wishing to fund 
research into fast land 
transportation, was inviting 
ten of the most savvy 


constructors in the free world to demon- 
strate competitively their concepts at a 
West Indies test facility leased, from the 
French. Specification paragraphs were 
few and short, dealing mostly with safety 
rules and restrictions aqa nst hovercraft or 
onboard computers. I leafed through the 
attachments, finally coming to awards of 
grant money, which was to be apportioned 
in a five-four-three-two-one-2ilch arrange- 
ment. The joke? Well, if there was one, I 
couldn'f see it, I went looking for Sam, who 
had disappeared behind a clean-room cur- 
tain. When I found him, I stopped in horror. 

He stood on a foam slab with a clipboard, 
jotting notes, and every now and then he'd 
reach out with diagonal cutters to nip at a 
thin steel cable. The cable was anchored 
by a ring in the floor and led over a pulley 
high above, where it held his bronze anvil. 
That nonspark anvil weighed about as 
much as a Volkswagen, and Sam had posi- 
tioned himself directly underneath it. 

Another pass with the nippers; half of the 
cable parted with a humming twanggg, 
and Sam nodded to himself and made 
another note. I managed to (lap my mouth. 
Nothing came out. Somewhere inside my 
chest an imp was shaking a very cold mar- 
tini, and .all I could do was stare as one 
thousand kilos of beryllium bronze turned 
lazily under' a strand of wire, high above 
Sam's venerable and evidently addled 

Sam had mentally spun out, I decided; 
he was trying to qualify for that big main 
event in the sky. Could I rescue him in time? 
Was I even going near ground zero? My 
feet grew taproots. The last strand parted 
with a keen musical sigh. 

"Oh, there you are," Sam said, stepping 
aside. The anvil plummeted, missing him 
by an eyelash, and when it struck the foam, 
it didn't even bounce. Just a quiet, massive 
thunk, sinking into the foam slightly. Sam 
knelt, inspected the foam, and made 
another notation. "Good enough," he said, 
brandishing the clipboard. 

I trembled like a dog passing peach pits. 
"That's how you brainstorm under pres- 

He squinted at his notes. "It was worth 
trying." he said. "Seems to work." 

"It works. -a!! right. I just invented the 
Jockey diaper." 

"Seat-of-the-pants styling," he jibed. 
"How'd you like the D.O.D.'s sense of 

"Funny as a tooth extraction." 

He bestowed a very patient look on me. 
"Okay, I'll lay it out for you; Uncle Whiskers 
thinks he can steal a lot of new ideas, 
cheap. But in its wisdom the gumminl ex- 
pects a bunch of prim and proper feasibil- 
ity studies, and" -he spoke slowly and 
distinctly— "it ain't gonna happen. Didja 
notice that the lecn inspectors will be army 
research engineers?" I hadn't. "And to 
save time, they'll' have all demonstrations 
run simultaneously for one hour. 

"And the list of contractors? Tobin Chat- 
ham, Renzo Terron. Clem Dall, Hans Ger- 

mann, Lodger Minsky the world's best 
rule-benders in Formula Libre events." 
Sam massaged my still-quaking shoulder 
with ford-wrench fingers, and his voice had 
a conspiratorial rasp: "There has never 
been a formula as libre as this 'un, boy. 
Under all that jargon lies a sprint race with a 
half-million to the winner. Even Indy doesn't 
pay that much. Fifth-place finish hauls in a 
hunnerd thou," he marveled, sucking a 

"Most pro drivers would maim for such a 
fifth place," I mused, 

"Bite yer tongue. But I'd bet my LeMans 
trophy against a plastic dashboard Jesus 
that no constructor could resist this shin- 
dig. For one thing, they'll recognize the lo- 
cation just like I did. Think of the fun we'll 
have, driving against each other on a good 

"I thought it was a military facility." 

"Best track in this country, lad, isLaguna 
Seca, which is a test layout on army prop- 
erty. Well, it's the same with the track on 

QHis roll cage looked 

as if It still 
weighed a ton. But it 
had been acid-etched 
from the inside, and Sam . . , 
carried it over- 
head with one hand like a 
buzzard's birdcage. 9 

Maldemer Island. It's on loan from Aero- 
spatiale de France." 

"But why would the French be doing us 

Sam hummed a stanza of "Froggy Went 

"You know more than you're telling." I 

"God, I hope so." he replied. "I can't take 
this thing seriously, and so I've decided to 
do it. Wanna help? 1 

Did Polly want a cracker? I squawked a 
fas; affirmative. 

A moment later, watching Sam tape a 
new vellum over the granite surface plate. I 
thought he had changed the subject. Yes, 
I remembered my teen-aged pranks. No. I 
hadn't forgotten the Halloween when six of 
us kids put a tiny Nash Metropolitan atop a 
barn outside Springville. The Metro, 
roughly the size of a Buick's trunk, would 
barely accommodate two midget contor- 
tionists and could not be described as a 
wild marketing success. Later we'd 
learned the Metro was Sam's, something 
he'd won. but he liked the etlect. Barn and 
all, the whole thing looked rather like a 
trophy.looming over Springville's city limits. 

So Sam had left it there for the past twenty 

But now he wanted it back. No matter 
that the old barn was nearly decayed; no 
matter that I might have to hire a crane; no 
matter that I tried pleading, cajoling, and 
sniveling. "Have a heart." I begged. 

He waved at the~fruit on the surface 
plate. "Have a banana," he said, "and put it 
in yer exhaust manifold. If I don't get my 
Metro, you don't get to work my pit at the 

This was different. "Are you suggesting 
that if I get the Nash Metro back, I will be on 
your pit crew?" 

"Highway robbery," he grunted, "but 
what else is new? Okay! Deal." 

I started for the hangar door, tearful that 
Sam might change his mind, but then I 
stopped, "I can't stand it," I admitted. "I 
have to know why you're sending me after a 
motorized hood ornament twenty years old 
when we're supposed to be building a 
supercaliextraferocious race car." 

"Because," as if to a child, "basically the 
Metro is the racer." 

For the second time I thought about that 
diaper. "Sam. Sam, ah — its engine had 
about twenty mousepower at most." 

He nodded. "I'll install Mini-Cooper drive 
trains front and rear," 

"You told me yourself, for brakes it needs 
a boat anchor and a short chain." 

A wave-off: "Ettore Bugatti said it all. I 
want it to go, not stop." 

"Then you're really serious." I started 
out. shaking my head. 

"I told you before." he called after me. 
echoes slapping from corners oi the 
hangar. "I'm not serious. That's why I'm 
gonna do it." I didn't like the sound of that 

By the time I dismantled the toylike Nash 
Metro and brought it to Sam, piece by 
piece, the D.O.D. had processed his entry. 
In their words: "accepted his proposal." 
Now we had a steady influx of embossed 
envelopes, hand-carried by a jut-jawed 
gent with sober tie and wingtip oxfords who 
spent a lot of time in his car just oft Sam's 
property. I never learned which agency he 
represented, but he wasn't from Renta 

The information in the envelopes was all 
classified. I'll say this much for the govern- 
ment; It was scrupulously fair, keeping 
Sam informed about the other "industri- 
alists" who were "proposing." This .forced 
his first alterations to his original ideas, 
which built up into sweeping revisions. Two 
weeks later Sam threw down the latest let- 
ter and hurled his calculator harmlessly 
against a piece of his special foam. 

I looked up from the squat little racing 
tires I was stacking. "What now?" 

He thought for a moment before answer- 
ing. Then, glowering at me, he replied. 
"The entrant list, Rocky Lunik is getting 
serious, and the others are falling into the 
same trap. Hell." he spat, '"this was 
s'posed to be fun. I gotta write a letter." 

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I froze "Backing out?" 

"Can't. Committed too much money - 
may as well call it an entrant's fee. But that 
damn Lunik in Florida has, as Ihey put it. 
'retained a consultant' for his entry." 


"So he's hired Ronnie Atchison to drive." 

Atchison, one of the famed oval-racer 
brothers, was not a man to take a second 
place lightly. If at all. "You're driving 
against him?" 

After a pause the length ot an ice age: 
'Aw, my license expired anyway" - 
spoken in a regretful whisper. Sam shuffled 
over to his Selectric and began to peck 
away, using a drift punch - his fingers are 
too stubby for an IBM. I uncrated a part for 
the racer, a fat swivehng front wheel 
assembly for a golf cart. Soon Sam started 
on the envelope, asking. "How much fo 
send a letter to Argentina?" 

"Last week it was thirty-one cents." I 
said. "Try a half-dollar. Send it today while 
you can still afford it." 

The envelope was addressed to the 
most superhuman driver who ever lived, six 

les world champion, now retired. I 
iled; "Bufluel Bafio for your driver? 
Good to see you've kept your sense of 

"Keep laughin'," Sam advised, "but 
check the flight connections from Buenos 

After that Sam rarely exercised his grin- 
wrinkles. When he whistled, it was the 
Largo from Death and Transfiguration, and 
I sensed that Sam's laugh began to sound 
more like a backfire. I took a so-called va- 
cation to help full-time in the hangar, and I 
didn't like many of the things I did. Take the 
protective roll cage, for instance. Accord- 
ing to safety rules, it had to have thick 
chrome-moly tubing, with a drilled hole for 
inspection to prove that no one had 
skimped to save weight. "Why," I asked. 
'must I pour wax into one short segment?" 

Sam was busy with a carboy of some- 
:ning that sent pungent white fumes into the 
air. "So the acid won't eat it away at that 
point." he muttered around his stub of a 

I worried, and I said so. and Sam couldn't 
care less. Later, with the wax melted out 
and the hole drilled, his roll cage looked as 
: still weighed a ton. But it had been 
acid-etched from the inside, and Sam 
routinely carried ft overhead with one hand 
like a buzzard's birdcage. 

"That thing." I opined, "isn't safe." 

"Don't lean on it. You might bend it." 

"So what'll you do for structural stiff- 

"Cheat. The fellas in Lockheed's skunk 
works sent me some whisker filaments 
made in the Skylab. I'll take molds from the 
Metro body, cast a shell with filaments 
nixed into that foam I concocted, and let 
the synthetic Metro body be the structure. It 
oughta protect the roll cage if nobody 
brushes against it." 

It was outrageous to have bodywork pro- 
tecting the roll cage instead of vice versa. 

100 OMNI 

but it was in the true spirit of racing, to wit; 
Rules were made to be outrun. I felt better 
about trie fifth wheel, which sat between 
the driver's knees. The only unpowered 
wheel, it swiveled with the steering and 
descended to contact the road only during 
a turn for added side force. The rules had 
required wheels; they hadn't said how 

Buhuel Barto arrived the day Sam tested 
the Metro. I can't say I ever actually com- 
municated with Serfor Barlo; with his lugu- 
brious accent and my tongue-tied awe, we 
had the beginnings of a beautitul semantic 
block. The great man mumbled something 
that Sam understood, and they gabbled for 
a while, and then Sam pointed to the Metro. 
which squatted on the mausoleum-sized 
surface plate like a model on a granite 

I didn't blame Bano for disbelieving. You 
couldn't even see the enormous width of 
the tires, no taller than bagels under the 
boxy little coupe. Both engines had been 
crammed in with integral transmissions, 
one into the minuscule trunk, the other 
under the shoebox hood. There was no 
passenger seat, just a rubber fuel bag the 
size of an elephant's whoopee cushion, 
filled with Sam's own nitromethane-spiced 

Naturally. Sam had kept the front-wheel 
drive for both engines, so that all four drive 
wheels were sleerable. And there is some- 
ftiing a little demoralizing about a Tootsie 
Toy car with its rear wheels cocked out of 
line. The exhaust extension was a single 
long pipe that emerged from the rear and 
was aimed cannonlike toward anyone rash 
enough to follow. The whole car was a dull 
gray, the natural color of the toam since a 
coat of paint would double the weight of the 
bodywork, if it looked nondescript. Sam 
reasoned, so much the better. He didn't 
want to alerl the competition — and, God 
knows, he didn't. 

Baho laughed for a long lime and then 
began to look around the hangar. He asked 
a question again, and Sam pointed to the 
foam-bodied, barrel-tired little Metro again, 
and now Seffor Banc's smile showed signs 
of wear. Plainly Bafio thought Sam had 
hidden the real race car somewhere else 
on the premises. 

Barfo maintained that opinion until Sam 
crawled in through the Metro's window — it 
had no real doors, which would have 
weakened the monocoque structure — and 
started the forward engine. 

A shattering blast brought dust from 
girders above. The scent of hot castor oil 
permeated the hangar and laid a mist of 
promise over Baho's glum dismay. Sam 
caught the Argentinean's eye, slarted the 
aft engine, and blipped the loud pedal. 

With the sound of God's bedsheets rip- 
ping, two engines, like mechanical Val- 
kyries, dopplered through an aria. Now 
even demigod Bafio grinned outright, 
watching the exhaust extension spew 
flames into thin air. He knew without being 
told: Sam had rigged the single biceps- 

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thick extension to slide like a trombone. 
Regardless of Ihe engine speed, the 
exhaust was power-tuned to mousehair 
fineness in Sam's aerospace parlance, 
an ar-cee-aitch. 

If Sam's cavalier dismount shocked 
Baho. he didn't let on. The Mini-Cooper 
suspension is famous for its mountain-goat 
resilience. When Sam rocketed off the 
meter-high granite plinth into space, I was 
the one who flinched. No sweat; the Metro 
hit running. 

Sam hung a lefty at the turnace. brodied 
around his bed -which is actually an in- 
verted ten-man lite raft -pulled an alky 
runner's switch while aimed for the hangar 
doors, and returned to us in a five-wheel 
■ -drift, aimed in one direction, going another. 
Despite his earlier teasing. Sam had in- 
stalled brakes the size- of manhole covers. 

After that, you couldn't have pried Sano 
out of there with a wrecking bar. We spent 
the rest of the week practicing pit work with 
tne GTO - even Pontiac knows that means 
"gas, tires, and oil" -and then it was time 
to fly to Trinidad, which has the nearest air 
terminal to Maldemer Island. 

Sam's fuel was a problem until he crated 
it up in a thousand absinthe bottles. The 
Customs people figured that anybody try- 
ing to get two hundred gallons of illegal 
booze out of the country couldn't be all 
bad. The Metro was no problem af all; Sam 
lust bonded a big handle on its roof and 
checked it along with his other luggage. 

Somewhere south of Martinique lies a 
sunbaked, tranquil isle. Its natives speak a 
Spanish-French patois, and that place 
does not know the meaning of chaos, 
cacophony, or Gotterdammerung. It is 
over the horizon from Maldemer. which has 
known all about those things since Ihe 
D.O.D. fiasco. We were beached on Mal- 
demer by an unmarked LST. a day ahead 
of our equipment and two days behind 
most of the competition. Nobody showed 
the slightest surprise to see Bunuel Bafio. 
When I saw all of the entrants - contractors 
and consultants. I mean -I longed for an 
autograph book. Sam had been right to 
hire Barlo; the other guys were out for 

And the vehicles! Every constructor had 
mounted his hobbyhorse, as it were, One 
company had disguised itself with a. sub- 
sidiary's name, the Detroit School of 
Abstract Art. Since its entry was an abso- 
lutely stock 1930 Lincoln, the real sponsor's 
name was the worst-kept secret since Neil 
Armsfrong took a walk. Sure, the Lincoln 
might get arrested for loitering on the track. 
but they figured the publicity was worth it 
especially with owner identification. The 
driver. Gertrude Pasadena had one of her 
great-grandkids along. 

Nippan. Inc.. entered its own publicity 
gimmick, an electric cargo- cart with what 
looked like a plastic sunshade over the 
driver. Aso Desukaa. The sunshade was a 
set of solar panels. The velocipede wasn't 
going to set any lap records, either, but it 

102 OMNI 

would run as long as the sun snone, without 
pit stops. I thought the slanfing headlights 
were.a bit much. 

During time trials everybody eyeballed 
the competition, and the fireworks began 
with the Indy Pacer, This was the genuine 
article, a big convertible with folding steel 
cross-track barriers that had paced a re- 
cent Brickyard 500. The D.O.D. . in a politi- 
cal ploy, had agreed to let the local 
Franco-Latins field this entry. The driver 
stowed his burp gun and then did a few 
laps around tne sinuous, mountain- 
protected track, scissoring Ihe barriers for 
practice. When open, they reached com- 
pletely across the macadam; it was obvi- 
ously a chancy notion to pass this guy, Rey 
Guevara. There were nine protests against 
this gambit, but the Pacer was in. 

The other cars were all wild designs- 
some refurbished, some new. Rumor had it 
that Hans Germann had found the Fokker. 
an open-wheeler with three staggered 
wings fore and aft. in Paraguay. It had four 
Porsche military engines and a jump seat, 
supposedly the result of a hush-hush effort 
in 1945 to build an escape car for a certain 
painter holed up in Berlin. I wondered how 
the Fokker had got to Paraguay, but the 
driver, a smooth-faced, minty old gent. 
named E. Braun. spoke only soprano Ger- 

Renzo Terrori was there with what would 
have been a Formula I car. except that its 
pair of huge Terrori V-12s made it as long 
as a hook-and-ladder rig. With usual Terrori 
hindsight, they'd added a second driver in 
back to steer the rear wheels. The top 
driver, Ricardo Rodrueces. was Mexican. 
The macho who steered the rear wheels 
was Juan Olete. an ex-bullfighter who 
never took the ears but always got the tail. 

Tobin Chatham's Blossom had a Scot- 
tish steam engine and needed no trans- 
mission. It had wedge tenders, four front 
wheels, and an engine intake as high as a 
periscope. Then I saw that the driver, Aus- 
sie Brian Tasman, lay supine. The damn 
thing did have a periscope. 

Clem Dall brought his new Sidewinder III 
from Texas and his foxy lady driver. Jane 
Guffy. from Indy. The Sidewinder looked 
tierce with its enveloping bodywork over 
the flash-boiler steam engine. Guffy drove 
nearly prone. Sam spied the internal fans, 
realized that the Sidewinder would use 
them to suck itself to the track, and had a 
conniption. This trick yielded tremendous 
cornering ability, but the exhaust not only 
emitted clouds of water vapor but also 
would be throwing debris behind it like a 
bagless vacuum cleaner. 

Sam went to protest rock-tossing Texans 
while I checked the last entries. The Van 
Lines Special had begun as an American 
sedan, magicked by Lunik into an inverted 
airfoil and powered by a husky little turbine 
with enormous fuel tanks, I'd seen turbines 
like that one before, and I swallowed hard. 
Even Ronnie Atchison walked around it on 
tiptoe; I wondered how he could drive with 
hisfingers crossed. 


The Van Lines Very Special was the sec- 
ond half of a consortium effort, with con- 
structor Lodger Minsky allied to Lunik. 
Minsky's driver was Lonnie Atchison, Ron- 
nie's equally talented brother. The Very 
Special looked like a souped-up. scaled- 
down moving van with huge rearviews and 
an odd exhaust pipe, or something, pro- 
truding from behind.- Another tuned 
exhaust, I thought, but the sister ship of 
Ronnie's had its exhaust aimed forward. 
Well, I was a little slow; Sam had seen the 
truth in an instant, and that settled the mat- 
ter in his mind. His protests were disal- 
lowed; Barto was off somewhere with the 
Terrori driver: worst of all, Sam was taking 
flak from the other constructors. 
■ "Dall thought the Metro was "... cute as a 
sowbug, pard, but if Barlo doesn't move 
over fer the Sidewinder, he's gonna be 
street pizza." 

Sam patted the Metro. "Runs like a top." 
he claimed. 

Dall said. "Shore it does; ever' time it 
stops, it falls over." 

Terrori was paternal. He smiled, tsketi at 
the Metro, and said, "Tutto paiiuto, si- 
gnore," and sailed on. Well, it did look 

"I'll give him tutti frutti," Sam snarled, 
turning to me. "I got a gofer job for you. 
Cost is no object, but I gotta have it all 

"But. Sam," I whined, "the Pentagon 
cocktail party-" He was already scrib- 
bling. I sighed and looked at the list. Then. 
like any good gofer, I wentfer. 

A thousand francs and two floatplanes 
later I returned to Maldemer. the leaves of 
my Larousse dogeared from use. Sam had 
found Bano sampling the fuel of the Mexi- 
can's Terrori, a mix that turned out to be 
one-seventy-proof mezcal. "No wonder 
they dance on their hats," Sam growled, 
busy with his torch and the tubing I'd 
brought. Baho had a distinct list to star- 
board, and he catnapped whenever Sam 
didn't need him for the moment. 

By midnight the Metro had disappeared. 
It was still there, but Sam's incredibly con- 
voluted new exhaust system surrounded 
the car so completely that all you could see 
was a maze of glistening metallic guts 
winding around it. Bafio could barely insert 
himself in the window, and his forward 
vision -well. I considered giving him a 
white cane so he could tap his way around 
the circuit. I asked what Ihe new 
dashboard lever was for, but Sam just 
leered toward the somnolent Argentinean 
and winked. 

The chemicals I'd brought went into a 
hopper on the aft engine. Sam fitted the 
push-type lawn mowers ahead of the front 
wheels after riveting squeegees onto their 
blades. "To brush the Sidewinder's debris 
out of the way,", I guessed triumphantly. 

Sam just bared those big stumpy teeth, 
shifted his cigar, and started grooving the 
Metro's tires. It was nearly dawn, and there 
wasn't time to take the tires to a specialist. 

10<1 OMNI 

Sam jacked the car up. started one engine. 
and squatted near a whirling tire. 

Of Gourse. grooving is only for wet 
tracks. "It hasn't rained'here during the dry 
season in fifty years," I reminded Sam as 
he chewed a new cutting surface into a 

"Pass it on," he said. "If I'm lucky. Dall 
and the others will decide I've flipped my 
head gasket." 

Privately. I thought so. too. It takes so 
much time to refit a race car for wet weather 
that it shouldn't be done during a sprint 
race. The car that's rigged as a mudder 
hasn't a chance unless the track is wet, and 
Sam couldn't have made his intent more 
obvious with a Plimsoll line. Well, Sam had 
triends at the satellite center; maybe the 
weather wizards had told him something I 
didn't know. 

Baho seemed fresh after his naps, but I'd 
worked all night. Unlike Sam, I wasn't used 
to it. I schlepped around, helping Baho into 
his cage and topping off the fuel tank. 

£Tobin Chatham's 

Blossom had a Scottish steam 

engine and needed 

no transmission. It had 

wedge fenders, 
four front wheels, and an 

engine intake as 
high as a periscope 9 

When the loudspeaker blared the grid posi- 
tions, we saw it was an inverted start, with 
the most powerful machinery at the rear. 

We pushed the Metro out behind the Lin- 
coln, the Nippan entry, and Guevara's 
Pacer. At the very back, Dall's Sidewinder 
and the Terrori lurked like predators; they'd 
be coming through the pack like a dose of 
salts through a fasting guru. 1 saw little old 
lady Pasadena dodder out to her Lincoln, 
arranging her fireproof shawl, 

Sam leaned through the maze of plumb- 
ing and shouted instructions to Bafio while 
the others warmed up. Barlo didn't want to 
wear the earplugs that Sam offered. His 
elaborate pantomime suggested he'd feel 
a lot better it he had a rearview better still. 
a front view. Then Bano started his en- 
gines. I watched the metallic dinosaur in- 
nards flexing around the Metro, adjusting 
for optimum extractor effect, and every 
head in sight swiveled to the tune of King 
Kong's Wurlitzer. 

Well, look at it this way: A stereo speaker 
can deafen you with a hundred watts. 
Merely idling, the twin-mill Metro was 
pumping maybe ten of its horses out as 
exhaust; at full blast, it might be a hundred 

horses, Converted to audio terms, Barlo 
was sitting in an extremely mobile seventy- 
thousand-watt speaker. Every time a piston 
fired in the little mudder, it was a shot heard 
round the world. I began to understand, or 
thought I did. 

The constructors barely had time to 
leave the grid before the start flag came up. 
It was green and gray, like currency. When 
it fell, I was glad I had earplugs and sorry I 
hadn't brought blinkers. 

The first thing that happened was that 
the convertible Pacer outdragged Nippan 
and Lincoln. The second thing was that 
Baho got sideways with wheelspin. Gue- 
vara, with his sudden lead, immediately 
scissored his barriers open, but one side 
was a trifle slow. 

The horde behind Barlo hung back, wait- 
ing tor him to spin, forgetting that all five of 
his wheels were steerable. Barlo kept ac- 
celerating, sideways and under perfect 
control, as he drove around the slowly 
opening barrier. Then he straightened and 
was gone. 

Old Miz Pasadena didn't mind when the 
speed demons overtook her Lincoln. She'd 
have to stop for gas. anyhow, next time 
around. I scrambled atop a pit ladder to 
see past the stands, which were full of more 
stars and gold braid than a doormen's 
convention. Guevara set a fair pace, but R. 
and L. Atchison had crowded up behind 
him now in the Van Lines Special and the 
Van Lines Very Special. It was obvious that 
both of these racers were using aerospace 
turbines like the one Sam had once tried. I 
figured they couldn't possibly last long 
without stopping to refuel, since they 
gulped about ten gallons of peroxide a 
minute at tull speed. But judging from the 
clouds of exhaust vapor, while they ran. 
they had more wild horses than Attila. 

I lost sight of the thundering pack until 
they started down the back straight. The 
Messrs. Atchison shook their fists; Serlor 
Guevara shook his burp gun in reply. Then 
the Atchisons nosed up against the open 
barriers, one on each side, and I could see 
wheelspin from a kilometer away. Guevara 
tried to steer but couldn't; he stood up and 
turned around and aimed his little ges- 
ticulator. Propelled by the brothers Atchi- 
son to a hundred sixty miles an hour, his 
Pacer blew its engine in a thunderous re- 
port Atchison L. and Atchison R. dropped 
back. Guevara, his back turned to the en- 
gine, perhaps thinking he'd been high- 
jacked, raised his hands and finally 
grabbed for the steering wheel again as his 
Indy Pacer took a scenic excursion at the 
end of the straight. He reaped a dozen hay 
bales and, I'm told, shot three more in re- 

Bano. meanwhile, had taken advantage 
of the bottleneck and had already lapped 
the slowest cars. The Sidewinder, Terrori. 
and Blossom were nudging one another in 
their private race just behind the Atchisons; 
when Lonnie's V. L. Very S. suddenly 
dropped back to conserve fuel, the trio 
passed him. Guffy got passed on each 

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straight but used Sidewnce r suction to re- 
pass on every turn, casting gravel as il it 
were largess among the multitudes. To 
tailgate Guify was to.iour a sandstorm. 

The Fokker droned along alone, disdain- 
ing to turn aside as it passed. Its stubby 
wings would cock to gain enough lift lor it to 
glide overhead before touching down 
again. Just the thing for bunker hopping, I 

Sam hauled himself up with me and 
started shouting into atransceiver. mad as 
hell because Bano couldn't hear past the 
earplugs that Sam had insisted he wear. 
Sam brightened, though, after glancing 
above Ihe track. Every time his little bundle 
of guts trundled past, a laint miasma 
smogged up from it into the still air. An 
overcast was forming from all the exhaust 
vapor but only over the track. 

The Lincoln had long since pitted for re- 
pairs lo its stereo, and when Ronnie A. had 
a strong lead on most of Ihe others. I 
realized his V.LS. was about to lap his 
sibling's biggish van. But he didn't, not just 
yet. He lucked in behind, slowed abruptly, 
and nosed Ihe probe I'd mislaken for an 
exhaust pipe into the receptacle of Lon- 
nie's van. 

Sam said laconically.' "Had to happen 
sooner or later. I.R.R." 

In-race refueling, How very special .can 
you get? The van hauled hundreds of gal- 
lons of unstable peroxide in big Teflon bags 
and was pumping it into its sister ship while 
flying down the main straight at blinding 
speed. Meanwhile they were passed by 
other wheeled meleoriies — until refueled 
Ronnie took off and caughl them all again 
in a howling whine that raised hackles. 

The Nippan stopped on the course; the 
cloud pall loomed so dark now, still only 
above the track, that the Nippan solar 
panels couldn't catch any sun, rising or 
otherwise. Big raindrops spattered on the 
track. Sam nodded, shifted his cigar, and 
folded his arms. Then I knew why Sam had 
insisted I find the iodide crystals: Metered 
into the Metro's exhaust, they were seeding 
the vapor thrown up by all the others. We 
sat there in brilliant tropical sunshine and 
watched as a tropical downpour de- 
scended all the way around the course. 

The rain spelled instant disaster for most 
of the competition. Their huge slick tires 
were aquaplaning, and I saw Dall trying to 
cobble up a snorkel in his pit. Chatham 
began to eat his tweed cap as the Blossom 
floated past, the valiant Tasman steering 
with one hand and bailing with the other. I 
don't think Chatham wanted the money so 
much as he loathed losing to the Fokker. 

The pentagonal types were going nuts 
right there in the stands as the superior 
mudders tested their water wings, and it 
began to look as if the Fokker had an ad- 
vantage. It spent more time in the air now, 
porpoising from ankle-deep water to the 
wild blue thither and back again. Despite 
Bano's madly whirling squeegees, his bow 
wave slowed him considerably. The Fokker 
leapfrogged Bafro. 

I didn't know who was in first place now. 
but Lonnie's van made great use of its 
power and high clearance. 

"It's time." Sam said. Five minutes to go. 
Sam waited for something - 1 didn't know 
whal -as Rodrueces in the Terrori en- 
gaged his codnver in heated dispute over 
which way to steer the rump end of a 
jointed racing car in a rainstorm. 

Sam bellowed inlo the transceiver, 
"Okay. Bufiuel. it's time." and then he 
started running toward the track. Bano 
couldn't hear him. 

The faster of the Atchison cars was 
parked now with an empty tank; the Terrori 
jackknifed around a hay bale; the Blossom 
wilted underwater; but Guff y had her snor- 
kel after Ihe fastest pit stop on record: and 
her Sidewinder still had a chance. 

Sam's muck-splattered mudder was still 
circulating, but under the handicap of a 
small tidal wave that preceded it like a 
pushcart, thanks to the car's blunt prow. 
The Fokker. half-airplane, half-aquaplane, 
was doing better even though the cloud 
had now wept its last. Sam hastily scrawled 
a message on his big pitboard for Bario 
and sloshed out to the edge of the track. 
which was still half-flooded. 

That was the moment 1 will never lorget: 
from my elevation I could barely make out 
the surviving fourmachmes as they all lined 
up in single file through the narrow curved 
chute just before the long main straight. 
The flag was out. signaling one lap to go. 
The V.L.V.S. van was leading, throwing 
such a wall of spray that Guify in Ihe Side- 
winder couldn't pass even in the turn. The 
Fokker chose this moment to try hop- 
scotching from behind Guffy, and with his 
hawk's eyes Bunuel somehow glimpsed 
the pitboard from his postior n the'eai He 
pulled down on the dashboard lever. 

I guess. 

There was no guesswork in what hap- 
pened next. From deep within my head. 
and I was wearing earplugs - it must have 
been many times worse for those who 
weren't protected -an abject fear welled 
up, accompanied by a vast subterranean 
shaking that honed my teeth and was not 
quite a noise. Somehow I knew it radiated 
from the dirty little mudder as its flexible 
exhaust pumped iron, Sam had earplugs, 
but he was closer to it than I was. 

E. Braun, just ahead of Bano, must have 
caught the full brunt of the subsonic wave, 
seventy thousand watts' worth of a bass 
note so profoundly deep you couldn't really 
hear it. It was Sam's final secret weapon, 
something he later described as the 
thirteen-cycle fright note. The adjustable 
exhaust was capable of almost any tone 
and couid be tuned for a given frequency 
instead of a given engine speed. Having 
read up an psychoacoustics, Sam had al- 
ways wondered what might happen if he 
put that much power behind a tone like an 
earth tremor. He wondered no longer. 

The fear-stunned Braun ducked and 
pulled on the wheel as the Fokker began its 
climb and swatted Guffy's car before 

swooping up into a gorgeous inside loop. 
As Guffy fought her defanged Sidewinder 
for control, the Fokker completed its loop 
and angled oifcourse toward the observa- 
tion tower, climbing again. 

The Fokke r ~:allecl d rec:lv ever :nc ".owe 
and found an all-points Valhalla on the roof, 
which collapsed onto ten million dollars' 
worth of government audiovisual spy 

Despite my earplugs, the hairs on the 
back of' my neck stood in a phalanx and 
marched off down my spine. The dirty 
mudder accelerated toward Guffy's rear 
As il neared the grandstand, beribboned 
■ heroes peeled over railings as one, head- 
ing for tall palms. 

No one could blame Guffy for deciding to 
seek a parking place, but as Bafto hurtled 
into her spray, he couldn't tell she was brak- 
ing. The muddy Metro disappeared up the 
rear of the spray. I gritted my teeth, expect- 
ing a grinding collision just behind Atchi- 
son, and then the Sidewinder suction- 
cupped itself to a stop. Atchison slowed for 
■the next turn, his roostertail subsided, and 
Sam's tubular creation was nowhere to be 

Lonnie Atchison continued at reduced 
speed, utterly unaffected by the frabjous 
noise our mudder had made. Sam's lips 
moved. I pulled out an earplug and heard 
only the whine of Atchison's turbine, and I 
asked Sam to say it again. 

"I said that was what would happen 
when you drive ovat tracks so long," Sam 
told me. "Atchison doesn't understand it 

I removed my other earplug. "What's to 

"Fear. They don't know the meanin' of it. 
But anger is somethin' else again," he 
added. He headed for the start-finish line 
with a crescent wrench. 

I followed, nonplussed. It was Sam who'd 
taught me that you don't touch a machine 
with a crescent wrench until you've tried 
sockets, pliers, and molars. Running to 
catch up, i panted, "But Bafio and the 
Metro, where are they?" 

"In first place," Sam puffed back, as 
Atchison wheeled his soiitary steed at a 
virtual crawl past the checkered flag. 

I didn't understand until Sam shinnied 
into the open rear of the V. L. Very S. Sitting 
atop a half-empty peroxide bag in the 
cargo section of the van was a familiar snarl 
oi tubing, and two arms were waving from 
inside. Baho had run up the back of the 
Sidewinder to land inside the vanl 

Lonnie Atchison was all smiles until he 
suspected that his last-minute stowaway 
might be between him and a vanload of 
money. After assisting Bafio from his cage. 
Sam reminded Atchison of the facts. It 
didn't matter how you got around the track, 
so long as you got around it. The Metro had 
done its last lap inside the van. 

But. Atchison argued, his rig nosed 
across the'finish line before its cargo .did. 

Right. Sam agreed, but the van had al- 
ready been lapped once by Baho early in 

the fray. Any way you sliced it, the Metro 
had done one lap more than the van. 

For about five seconds Atchison stood 
and thought about it. Then I learned why 
the crescent wrench is indispensable, not 
on machinery, but in negotiation. 

The contretemps ended when fvlinsky 
tossed a handful of ball bearings under- 
foot. Eventually the few officials still on the 
premises sf raggled over and, working from 
remains of videotapes in the observation 
tower, confirmed that Sam's little boogie 
buggy had demonstrated one extra lap. 
Atchison claimed the mudder was now his 
property since he had toted it to a win, and 
Sam let him take it after removing the tangle 
of tubes for further study. Atchison got his 
Nash out of there, and Sam got a "contrac- 
tor fee" the size of a Korean lobbyist's. 

What good came of it all? Well, the 
D.O.D. learned something about a ground 
pounder's application of in-flighf refueling, 
a little about the dread thirteen-Hertz note, 
and a lot about driving in inclement 
weather. Minsky and Lunik found hors 
d'oeuvres for thought when they discov- 
ered Sam's iodide dispenser. And I 
learned not to assume that Sam is de- 
ranged, merely because he palpably is. 

Dall, whose Texas twang masks Cal- 
tech training, was so impressed with 
Sam's innovations that he issued a 
grudge-race challenge to Sam for a figure 
that was double the present winnings, Be- 
cause Dall himself is one of the greatest 
innovators in racing history, Sam took the 
challenge seriously. That's why he didn't 
accept— not right then, anyway. OQ 

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The desire to win them is 
one of the greatest untapped resources in science 


Prize money does something- to people. \t 
makes them attempt the impossible: It was 
5190,000 in prize money, tor example, that 
spurred Bryan Allen to pedal: a remarkable 
aircraft called the Gossamer Albatross across the cold 
■ -waters of the English Channel this. past spring. A prize. ■ 
of-drrfy $3.000— plus an- honorary speeding ticket- 
was enough incentive fortwb college students, riding a 
streamlined bicycle, to break the national speed limit of 

55- miles .per hour. A few years ago -j prize oi % '0.000 
ted to. the successful breeding of an until-then-iegend- 
"ary whits marigold. In 1927 it was a prize of $25,000 that 
Sent Charles Lindbergh on h;s historic Urm solo ilgni 
across the Atlantic - 

Money is obviously a driving lorce behind such 
prizewinning efforts. So is the notoriety that almost 
always accompanies a successful attempt. But fame 
and fortune alone cannot explain the perseverance of 

• Whence, then, comes the inspiration 

to spend days bouncing on a pogo stick or 

covering a gym floor with dominoes?* 

the would-be prizewinner. 
Something else is involved. 

Consider the megahours ol 
human effort spent In attempts 
to break a Guinness world 
record. There is no money at 
stake, and the chance of mod- 
est recognition — a listing in 
next year's volume — does not 
justify the prodigious amount 
of effort required. So what is it 
that inspires someone to 
spend days bouncing on a 
pogo stick or covering a gym 
floor with dominoes? A defin- 
able goal, that's what— know- 
ing beforehand the exact 
criteria for success. If you can 
eat 64 bananas in ten minutes, 

you're in, If you can manage only 63, well, maybe you should 
concentrate on Frisbee throwing (outdoor record: 444 feet). 

Prizes like the ones mentioned so far are known as challenge 
prizes. The criteria for winning are well defined in advance. Either 
you meet them or you don't. While challenge prices are exciting 
and effective in spurring people on to achievement, they are 
almost unheard-of in science and technology today. 

Most of the prizes now available are what could be called 
"the best of" prizes. The Nobel prizes are examples of fhis variety 
of award. The Nobel Committee examines the work of scientists 
and researchers in each of the prize areas and then makes its 
annual awards. The prizes are handed out each year, even if there 
has been no outstanding work in a given field. 

There are literally thousands of Nobel-like awards, most of them 
listed in the two-volume annual catalog Awards, Honors and 
Prizes. They range from the prestigious Nobels to the $200 prize 
given by the National Lubricating Grease Institute for the best 
paper of the year on the manufacture of grease and the S500 
Cleanliness Achievement Award offered by the Soap and Deter- 
gent Association. Curiously, the -Awards, Honors and Prizes 
catalog does not list a single challenge prize. 

The modern prototype of the challenge prize is the Kremer 
Prize, which eventually led to the spectacular English Channel 
flight of the Gossamer Albatross last spring. To fly as the birds do, 
underourown power, was one of man's ancient dreams, but in the 
middle of this century it was no closer to becoming reality than it 
was when Leonardo da Vinci sketched his first plans for a man- 
powered aircraft. Then in 1959 British industrialist Henry Kremer 
stoked the inventive fires by announcing a £50,000 award for a 
muscle-powered craft that could fly a specific course — a figure 
eight around two pylons half a mile apart, with the plane at least ten 
feet off the ground at the beginning and the end of the run. 

An amazing array of vehicles was built and tested in vain 
assaults on Kremer's money. A Canadian team designed a sev- 
en-rider behemoth. Two-person contraptions were tried out in 
England, and more conventional single-rider vehicles were seen 
in the United States. France, and Japan. But none came close to 

flying the Kremer course. Then 
m 1977 Paul MacCready de- 
signed and built the Gossamer 
Condor, a delicate craft that 
weighed only 70 pounds but 
sported the wingspan of a 
DC-9. His string-bean power 
plant, Bryan Allen, flew the 
Mylar bird into history. 

The Gossamer Condor went 
to the loyer of the National Air 
and Space Museum, in Wash- 
ington. D.C.. alongside the 
Spirit ot St. Louis, theX-15, and 
a Wright Flyer Henry Kremer 
was so happy to see his dream 
realized that he not only paid 
the prize money {then worth 
about $86,000) but doubled 
the ante to £100.000 for the first human-powered flight across the 
English Channel (see "Man-Powered Flight." December 1978). 
The money was claimed this spring, again by MacCready, when 
Bryan Allen piloted a new, streamlined craft, the 55-pound Gos- 
samer Albatross, across the Channel and onto the front pages, 

During construction, at a crop duster's airstrip near Bakersfield. 
California, of an early version of the Gossamer Condor , John Lake, 
one of the principal designers, reflected on the shrewd vision of 
Henry Kremer. "They call Kremer eccentric." he observed. "I say 
he's a practical businessman," Lake's point was this; If one were to 
add up the cost of all the raw materials, man-hours, and computer 
time that went into the Gossamer Condor, the total value would be 
many times the $86,000 Kremer eventually paid. If Kremer had 
gone directly to Boeing or Lockheed, even to MacCready's 
Pasadena firm, Aero-Vironment. and said. "I want you to build me 
a human-powered airplane that will fly my figure-eight course, and 
I'm willing to pay you eighty-six thousand dollars to do it," he would 
never have gotten past the secretaries. The idea was fantastic and 
impractical on the face of it. His money would have barely paid for 
the initial designs by any major aeronautics firm, with no guarantee 
of success. 

But to offer a prize! There Is a mystique, a challenge, a spirit of 
adventure in that. Kremer did just what he had to do to get what he 
wanted. He offered a challenge prize, specified his goal, put his 
money in a bank, and waited. Around the world, backyard inven- 
tors worked on impossible schemes, and Kremer's money stayed 
in the bank. Riders pedaled, sweated, and crashed, designers 
went back to drawing boards, and builders built again, all at their 
own expense. Kremer never had to pay a cent for failure. He paid 
only for demonstrated success. 
Might there be a lesson here? 

Recently Allen Abbott, a thirty-two-year-old California doctor, 
offered a similar prize. Abbott has a flair for speed, in 1972 he rode 
a bicycle in the slipstream (where there is virtually no wind resis- 

Bryan Allen powered She Gossamer Albatross across trie English Channel 
to win a cash prize In the tradition ol Lindbergh (previous page); alter 
miscalculations cJ inr«:v!ud". i^d !■:■ a ! /ac ■; :>;«;.-.k <J! <r>e Stilly Islands and 
the toss ol 2.000 lives in 1707. Britain altered $20,000 lor an accurate ship's 
chronometer that would work aboard ship. John Harrison (right) won it in 1 765. 

tance) of a specially built race car and 
pedaled across the Bonneville Salt Flats at 
an incredible pace of over 140 mph, the 
fastest speed ever attained by a man on a 
bicycle. Abbott also entered strange bicy- 
cles in the annual International Human- 
Powered Vehicles (IHPV) speed champi- 
onships in southern California. In 1976 he 
broke another record: Riding headfirst on 
his stomach, in, roughly, the "diver's posi- 
tion." which is the least wind-resistant 
shape the human body can assume, and 
using both hand and foot cranks, he took 
first place with a speed of 47.8 mph over a 
measured 200-meter course, the fastest 
speed that a human being had ever 
traveled, oulside a slipstream, under his 
own power. 

The following year Abbott retired from 
active competition. To maintain his in- 
volvement in the sport, he announced a 
$3,000 prize tor the first human-powered 
vehicle to break the national speed limit ot 
55 mph. At last spring's IHPV champion- 
ships two students from Northrop Univer- 
sity pedaled White Lightning at 56.7 mph 
and won the Abbott Prize. They were 
awarded the check and an honorary 
speeding ticket by the California Highway 
Patrol. (The riders of White Lightning took 
the prize because they were the first to 
break the 55-mph limit. Later in the day a 
three-man cycle, Vector, clocked in at 
57.07 mph.) 

As an investment, Abbott's money was 
well spent. White Lightning cost more than 
$3,000 to build in materials alone. The Ab- 
bott and Kremer prizes stand in stark eco- 
nomic contrast to the way technological 

achievements are usuall y made. 


The economic appeal of challenge 
prizes is nothing new. In the early 1700s the 
British Navy offered a prize to the person 
who could "discover" longitude at sea. To 
navigate by the sun or the stars, one must 
know exactly whal time it is back at the 
home port. The difference between that 
time and local time tells a navigator how far 
around the earth his ship has gone. But the 
best pendulum clocks of the day were not 
reliable aboard a pitching, rolling ship, and 
miscalculations of longitude led to some 
tragic wrecks. When the government 
stepped in and ottered 520,000 tor an ac- 
curate ship's chronometer, all kinds of 
people— intelligent and not so intelligent, 
genius and crackpot — went to work. 

Finally, a Yorkshire mechanic. John Har- 
rison, produced a series of chronometers, 
each more accurate than the one before, 
that satistied the Crown's conditions. It took 
some time for the government to pay up., 
but eventually Harrison got his £20,000. 
Without financing a single feasibility study, 
Britain got a tool that could determine a 
ship's location anywhere on Earth, a mili- 
tary advantage comparable in its day to 
acquiring the atom bomb. And the world 
got an invention that revolutionized the 
clock industry. 

112 OMNI 

Another historic example is the prize 
Napoleon announced in 1795 for a practi- 
cal method of preserving food. A cook and 
confectioner named Nicolas Appert was 
interested in such things. (It was he who 
invented the bouillon cube.) He eventually 
worked out a process of heating food and 
then sealing out the air, to prevent spoilage 
by bacteria. His idea formed the basis of 
the modern canning industry. Napoleon 
paid Appert 12,000 francs in 1809, a small 
price indeed for an invention that has 
changed the eating nabitsof all mankind. It 
has been said that if Napoleon had been 
able to keep Appert's invention in France, 
he could have conquered the world. 

In 1925 New York hotelier Raymond Or- 
teig ottered $25,000 to whoever would 
make the first nonstop solo flight across the 
Atlantic from New York to Paris. Two years 
later Charles Lindbergh won it and did 
more to promote commercial aviation than 
any other man. But stimulating air travel 
wasn't his purpose. He accepted the chal- 

6UFO debunker Philip Klass 

will pay $10,000 

for proof of alien visitors — 

if you'll pay him 

$100 for each year that 

passes without it. 

Only one major ufologist has 

signed up.3 

lenge to win the Orteig prize. 

David Burpee, ot the Burpee seed 
catalog, started trying to breed a white 
marigold in 1920. He invited the American 
gardening public to join his search in 1954 
with an offer of $1 0,000 to the first person to 
send in seeds that would produce a per- 
fectly white marigold. The prize was paid in 
August 1975 to Mrs. Alice Vonk, of Sully, 

I n all these cases the money offered was 
substantial but far less than what the 
achievements were worth. Even small chal- 
lenge prizes can stimulate prodigious 
amounts of work, so long as the conditions 
for winning are clearly staged in advance. 

There are few fields in which the ac- 
complishment can be more precisely 
stated than in mathematics. Some 43 years 
ago at the Scottish Pub, in Warsaw, a group 
of Polish mathematicians who often 
gathered there started a tradition of listing 
their favorite problems in a book (recently 
translated and published as The Scottish 
Book) and offering a small prize for the first 
solution — a bottle of wine for one, two 
beers or a kilo of bacon for another. John 
von Neumann entered a problem on July 4, 

1937, and offered the prize of "a bottle of 
whiskey of measure > 0." An entry posed 
in 1936 offered a live goose. This "goose 
problem" was recently solved by a 
Swedish mathematician. He went to War- 
saw, where the Scottish Book trustees pre- 
sented him with his bird and celebrated 
with a banquef featuring what else?— 
cooked goose (not the prize specimen), 

The oldest and most famous prize in 
mathematics is for the proof of Fermat's last 
theorem. Fermat scribbled a note in the 
margin of a book, saying that while 32 + 4 2 
- 5 2 (the mode! case for the Pythagorean 
theorem), he had proved that the equation 
x n + yii = z n has no integral solution for any 
exponent n other than 2. Unfortunately, 
Fermat died without publishing his proof, 
and mathematicians have been trying to 
duplicate it ever since. 

The Paris Academy of Sciences ottered 
twice a gold medal and 3,000 francs lor a 
solution. In 1908 the Germans offered the 
Wolfskehl Prize of 100,000 deutsche 
marks, which will remain in effect until Sep- 
tember 13. 2007. Hyperinflation in postwar 
Germany reduced the prize to a small frac- 
tion of its former value; as of 1974. it was 
worth a bit more than 10,000 DM. 

Today the man in charge of the Wolfskehl 
Prize is Dr. F. Schlichting, at the University 
of Gbttingen. Dr. Schlichting reports that he 
has no idea how many "solutions" have 
been sent in so far, but back in 1908, the 
first year the prize was offered, 621 were 
filed. He adds that "today they have stored 1 
about three meters of correspondence on 
the Fermat problem." One man sent in the 
first half of his solution and promised to 
send in the second half if the institute would 
pay him 1.000 DM in advance. Another 
promised to cut Dr. Schlichting in for 10 
percent of all royalties from books and TV 
appearances once he had become fa- 
mous if Schlichting would support his solu- 
tion. If Schlichting would not, he threatened 
to send it to a Russian mathematics de- 
partment to deprive Germany of the glory 
of having discovered him. 

Despite all the attempts, Fermat's prob- 
lem remains unsolved, and many mathe- 
maticians now feel that it may be insoluble. 
Computers have checked out all the inte- 
gers up to 125,000, so that if any equation is 
going to have two nth powers that add up to 
another nth power, the exponent must be at 
least 125,000. If there is a solution, it will 
have millions of digits. It's not the kind of 
problem you can work out on your pocket 

The tradition of mathematical challenge 
prizes has been carried on and expanded 
by the eccentric, vagabond mathematician 
Paul Erdbs (pronounced "AIR-doosh"). He 
first offers small cash prizes, then raises 
the stakes if a problem remains unsolved 
for a number of years, Erdds is such a 
legendary figure that some mathemati- 
cians know one another by their "E 
number," the number of coauthors one is 

■i PAGE 132 • . 

or;NT!\-jEO- i o.' PAOr ;>■ 

in 15-volt increments. There are also verbal 
designations which range from slight 


teacher is told that he is to administer the 
learning test to the learner in the other 
room. When he responds correctly, the 
teacher moves on to the next item; when 
the learner gives an incorrect answer, the 
teacher is to give him an electric shock. He 
is to start at the lowest shock level ...and to 
increase the level each time trie man 
makes an error. . . . 

"The teacher is a genuinely naive subject 
who has come to the laboratory to partici- 
pate in an experiment. The learner or vic- 
tim, is an actor who actually receives no 
shock at all. . . . 

"Conflict arises when the man receiving 
the shock begins to indicate that he is ex- 
periencing discomfort. At 75 volts, the 
learner grunts. At 120 volts, he complains 
verbally; at 150, he demands to be re- 
leased from the experiment. His protests 
continue'as the shocks escalate, growing 
increasingly vehement and emotional. At 
285 volts? his response can only be de- 
scribed as an agonized scream. 

"Observers of the experiment agree that 
its gripping quality is somewhat obscured 
in print. For the subject, the situation is not a 
game; conflict is intense and obvious. , . ." 

Milgram points out that 80 percent of 
social-psychology research requires stag- 
ing or technical illusion and that laws 
agaipsl such procedures would greatly 
interfere with inquiry: 

"Of course, you can't withhold informa- 
tion that affects the person's willingness to 
participate in the experiment," Milgram 
said in an interview, "but you must withhold 
certain information for epistemological 
reasons. If the subjects of this kind of re- 
search were fully informed, experiments 
would become meaningless." 

He added, "I think it's much more risky to 
swallow some unknown chemical than to 
participate in this kind of study. And there is 
no evidence whatsoever that when an indi- 
vidual makes a choice in a laboratory 
situation — even the ditticuli choices posed 
by the conformity or obedience experi- 
ments— any trauma, injury, or diminution of 
well-being results." 

Yet, Milgram points out, some of the pro- 
posed regulations in this area would make 
it impossible for a trained scientist to con- 
duct market research — "while any person 
on the street is free to ask questions of 
anybody." Milgram finds this an absurd 
possibility, indicating, he thinks, that the 
degree of regulation may have reached its 

But if not, there will have to be new solu- 
tions to the problem of pursuing human- 
subjects research, Might there be a place 
in some future job market tor professional 

human-subjects-research, where people 
like Evel Knievel could put their daring to 
public service? Veatch says no. "A subject 
actually becomes useless with experi- 
ence," he explained. "The more you do to 
him, the less 'normal' he becomes. Either 
he's had too many drugs in his system, or 
he's gotten too savvy about research pro- 
tocol and begins 16" say what he thinks the 
investigator wants to hear." 

Arthur Caplan. another Hastings Center 
staffer and a member of Columbia Univer- 
sity's institutional review board, says that 
human research will continue to expand 
despite tighter government scrutiny. 

"There's a monkey shortage." Caplan 
said, "and a real potential in Western soci- 
ety for concern about animals' rights to in- 
crease to the point where it poses a prob- 
lem for research in general — and people in 
general -because less animal experi- 
mentation will only mean more human ex- 

The Indian government stopped export- 
ing rhesus monkeys to the United States 
last year, abruptly ending an annual supply 
of 12,000 animals for needed testing of 
vaccines and other drugs. Some South 
American countries (Brazil, Peru, Colom- 
bia] had already ombai goed theircommer- 
cial primate trade when the latest shortage 
occured. At regional primate centers 
around the country, U.S. scientists are try- 
ing to breed captive populations oi exper- 
imental monkeys from existing supplies, 
but, so far, native production is no match , 
for the missing imports. For most research 
purposes involving monkeys, other ani- 
mals simply will not do. And as for skipping 
the monkey step and proceeding directly 
to human volunteers, well, no one has sug- 
gested that. Yet. 

"One oi the hard facts of life for the 
twenty-first-century researchers is that the 
diseases are tougher than ever," Caplan 
continued. "Cancer and stroke are much 
less amenable to miraculous cures than 
were measles, anthrax, and smallpox. 
Self-experimentation will play only a mini- 
mal role. For, while Walter Reed and his 
boys had no problem acquiring yellow 
fever, the future researcher may not be 
able to give himself leukemia. Even if he's 
willing to sit next to an atomic reactor, it 
might take him twenty years to develop 
symptoms. So he must rely on people who 
already have the disease." 

Caplan agrees with Veatch that a volun- 
teer army of research subjects "wouldn't 
wash scientifically." But he does see room 
for each of us to volunteer for a short while 
as part of our civic duty— or be called to do 
so, the way we're called to serve on juries. 

"I'm not sure anyone knows what 
the individual owes the state in terms 
of medical experimentation," Caplan con- 
cluded. "But if medicine becomes pub- 
licly funded, through national health 
insurance, that question may be of great 
importance. "OO 


An ability to cohabit with humans guarantees 
their presence in the 21st century 



One hundred years 
ago no one expect- 
ed to see he/ring 
gulls along the 
shoreline of New York, raising 
their chicks next to picnic ta- 
bles conveniently close to dis- 
carded food. Twenty-five 
years ago residents of Edison. 
New Jersey, were baffled by 
the appearance of herring 
gulls nesting in their chimneys. 
Now, two-and-a-half decades 
after they first swooped down 
on its shores, the gulls are so 
well established in New Jersey 
that many smaller birds have 
been driven from their nesting 
grounds. Within a century, 
Rutgers University biologist 
Joanna Burger predicts, the 
herring gull may become one 
of the most prolific species of 
animal, a true survivor able to 
fly in the face of fast-diminish- 
ing natural habitats. 

A voracious scavenger's 
diet and the unusual ability to 
expand its breeding range 
give these big white birds their 

singular hardiness. Dr. Burger 
notes that as man and his gar- 
bage have increased along the 
shore, so have herring gulls. 
Given such unfinicky food 
preferences, it comes as no 
surprise that during the past 
150 years herring gulls poured 
out of Maine and parts north to 
perpetuate their species as far 
west as the Great Lakes and as 
far south as the Carol in as. 

The herring gull explosion 
represents a phenomenon that 
runs counter to the well-publi- 
cized decline of endangered 
species. While many large, 
well-known species decline, 
others do well and actually in- 
crease in number. 

Most of the successful ani- 
mals today are, as might be 
expected, small creatures like 
the squirrel, the house spar- 
row, the cockroach. The food 
and space requirements of 
these animals are modest, en- 
abling them to thrive in a world 
of dwindling resources. Yet 
there are some large animals 

as well whose hardiness and 
adaptability will guarantee 
their presence on Earth long 
into the future. 

Consider the North Ameri- 
can coyote. A good argument 
could be made that the coyote 
is the most successful large 
animal next after man. The 
coyote has significantly ex- 
panded its range, beginning 
with the arrival of the first white 
colonists. As Europeans struck 
out to new territory, so did the 
coyote, White-tailed deer also 
seem sufficiently hardy to 
cope with the modern world. 
More of them are around today 
than when the first colonists 
found venison tasty and plenti- 
ful. Few of America's larger 
animals are doing as well as 
the coyote and the white-tail, 
but elk and mule deer are still 
present in substantial num- 
bers in the West, and the 
bighorn sheep, the pronghorn 
antelope, and the black bear 
appearto be holding theirown. 
In the twentieth century almost 


all of these species are more ni 
than they were in (he previous century. 

Other regions of the world have their own 
adaptable animals, including the leopard 
and yellow baboon in Africa, Ihe hanuman 
langur monkey in India, the red and gray 
kangaroos of Australia, the squirrel monkey 
in South America, various seals in the Arc- 
tic and Antarctic, and the blue shark in all 
the world's oceans. A century from now 
these same species may still be fairly plen- 
tiful, even though the world will contain vast- 
ly more people and less wilderness than it 
does today. Some wildlife experts believe, 
in fact, that all animals, nourishing and en- 
dangered alike, will live only in the protec- 
tion of parks, refuges, and zoos a hundred 
years hence. 

'A hundred years from now the 'wild' will 
be only zoolike preserves," says Dr. Ben- 
jamin B. Beck, of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. 
Most experts, however, expect to see a few 
exceptionally resilient beasts surviving 
outside protected enclaves. 

"The coyote will certainly survive without 
the protection of parks or preserves," says 
Dr. John B. Muldar, a Kansas University 
professor of veterinary medicine. "Its con- 
tinued movement into new and expanded 
territories is ample evidence for this." 
Thomas Lovejoy of the World Wildlife Fund, 
picks the coyote, hyena, jackal, and some 
kangaroos and vultures as the large ani- 
mals most likely to be found outside pre- 
serves in another century. He calls them 
"weed species." 

What makes one species, such as the 
coyote, a good prospect for long-term sur- 
vival when others, for instance the wolf, 
dwindle to the brink of extinction? A 
number of descriptive terms come up 
again and again when wildlife experts dis- 
cuss animals that persist today in large 
numbers: adaptability, particularly to 
habitats disturbed by man; intelligence; 
secretiveness; high reproductive rates; 
absence of competition with man; suitabil- 
ity for management; and wide distribution. 

The coyote's breeding range has grown 
very rapidly since the first white explorers 
reached the western parts of this country 
The coyote once inhabited only the grassy 
western plains. By the mid-nineteenth cen- 
tury, however, when most other sizable 
animals were being hunted to near 
extinction, the coyote not only was flour- 
ishing in its original habitat but had es- 
tablished itself along the West Coast, in 
Central America, and as far east as Illinois 
and Michigan. It followed the miners to 
Alaska in the Gold Rush of the 1880s, sub- 
sisting largely on dead horses left along the 
trails. By 1925, the coyote had reached the 
Atlantic Coast, Hudson's Bay Florida, and 
the Gulf Coast. 

Researchers who have studied the 
coyote give it points for intelligence, se- 
cretiveness, and fertility, but its major ad- 
vantage, like that of the herring gull, is 
probably its adaptability. The coyote will 
live almost anywhere and eat almost any- 
thing. Although it originated on the western 
ne OMNI 

plains, it now inhabits broken forest, des- 
erts, mountains, and the tropics. It has even 
been seen moving unobtrusively through 
the outskirts of large American cities. 

Because it is one of the few animals that 
have flourished in spite of man's harass- 
ment, the federal government each year 
kills some 70,000 to 85,000 coyotes as part 
of a program to control predation on sheep. 
Thus far, the controversial program has 
achieved only local success and may even 
have introduced an undesired result. H. T. 
Gier, of Kansas State University, writes in 
The Wild Canids: "We, with our persecution 
of the coyote, have added another parame- 
ter to natural selection with the result that 
coyotes are now larger, smarter, more 
adaptable, faster, and more cunning than 
when white men first entered the coyote's 

An earlier predator-control program, this 
one directed against the wolf, also helped 
the coyote in that it removed a feared pred- 
ator from almost its entire range. The coyote 

QOne to two million kangaroos 

are kilted yearly 

in Australia, yet the big 

red species has 

actually increased its numbers 

as a result of land 

clearing for ranches and the 

creation of water holes 3 

promptly moved into the vacant territory. 
The wolf, incidentally, is now protected as 
an endangered species. 

The American Indians, who half- 
domesticated the coyote, say that the 
coyote will be the last animal on Earth. They 
may turn out to be right. 

The coyote is not the only animal that 
shows an exceptional ability to thrive in the 
face ot man's harassment. From 1 million to 
2 million kangaroos are killed each year in 
Australia for export alone; the toll was even 
greater in earlier decades. Nevertheless, 
one species, the big red kangaroo, actually 
increased its numbers in the first half of the 
twentieth century, largely as a result of the 
clearing of land. for ranching. 

Another animal that seems to be thriving 
in the face of man's depredations is the 
leopard. The big spotted cat was once 
considered endangered (it is still on the 
U.S. government's official "endangered" 
list) because it is seldom seen, but new 
research indicates that its secretiveness, 
not its scarcity, accounts for the lack of 
sightings in some areas. There is evidence, 
however, that the leopard's range, which 
formerly extended throughout much of Af- 

rica and Asia, has shrunk. The big cat's 
retiring habits help it to survive, but the 
major reason for its success is adaptability, 
according to Dr. Randall Eaton, of the Uni- 
versity of Washington, who calls it "the 
coyote of the cat family." Like ihe coyote, 
the leopard apparently can flourish in a 
wide variety of habitals, including the envi- 
rons of large cities. 

An African animal that is demonstrably 
successful despite man's onslaughts is the 
baboon. Classified as "vermin'' outside 
parks and preserves, baboons are 
slaughtered in great numbers because of 
their crop-raiding proclivity. Nevertheless, 
some baboons are doing remarkably well. 
Dr. Bruce Westlund, of the University of 
California at Riverside, who has studied yel- 
low baboons in the flat, grassy areas of 
East Africa's savannahs, notes that this 
particular species is expanding its num- 
bers in some areas of "Africa while maintain- 
ing a stable population in others. 

The baboon's adaptability explains its 
success. "Baboons can live with humans," 
says Dr. Westlund. "You see them inside 
and outside national parks and near cities." 
The baboon's ability to meet changing 
conditions by modifying its social structure 
enhances its prospects for survival. If there 
is a decline in the food supply baboons 
can divide into smaller groups. The devel- 
opment of a complex social organization by 
baboons millions of years ago is thought to 
have helped these large, intelligent mon- 
keys to make the transition from forest to 
grasslands. Early man is believed to have 
made the transition in the same way. Now 
the baboon's adaptability faces an even 
greater challenge: making the transition 
from an undisturbed savannah to an envi- 
ronment in which the human is dominant. 

Highly adaptable species like the ba- 
boon, the leopard, the kangaroo, and the 
coyote might succeed even in a world 
where no animal is given protection, but 
most other species need man's assistance 
to last at least another century. These are 
the animals, as Thomas Lovejoy puts it, that 
"we have decided, consciously, to pre- 
serve." The hoofed "big game" animals, 
the black bear, the Australian koala, and 
the langur monkey are all fairly plentiful to- 
day, and they are found in some rather un- 
expected surroundings. The koala, which 
is completely protected, flourishes in the 
eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, the 
most populated area of that island country. 

The hanuman langur, or "sacred mon- 
key," is the second most widespread pri- 
mate in India, a country in which almost all 
other large-animal populations have been 
severely depleted as a result of the human 
population explosion. The langur's suc- 
cess is partly attributable to its adaptability 
to man — it lives in and near cities and 
towns — but even more to its status as a 
sacred animal of the Hindu god Hanuman. 
Dr Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, a Harvard University 
anthropologist and author of a recent study 
of hanuman langurs. The Langurs of Abu, 
notes that Hindu convictions prohibit 

the killing of langurs. even when the ani- 
mals become pests. While engaged in her 
research. Dr. Hrdy was beaten with a cane 
by an elderly brahman who mistook her 
going about marking langurs with red paint 
as a means of injuring them. 

Nevertheless. Hrdy fears that the special 
protection attorded the langur may be un- 
dermined by "increasing secularization, 
combined with the inescapable fact that 
langurs cause damage." If the privileged 
status of langurs changes, she says, -the 
creature probably will not survive near 
populated areas. 

In an increasingly irreligious world, a 
game animal may have a better chanoe of 
survival than a sacred animal would. Both 
Europe and the United Staies have numer- 
ous large animals considered "game" by 
sportsmen: the red and roe deer in Europe 
and the white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk. 
moose, pronghorn antelope, mountain 
sheep, and caribou in the United States. All 
are common, at least in some areas, owing 
partly to careful management by profes- 
sional game wardens employed by federal 
and state governments. Game manage- 
ment is fairly new in the United States. Until 
the end of the nineteenth century virtually 
unrestricted hunting — most of it carried out 
by commercial hunters in later years— was 
the rule. By 1900 the vast herds of bison 
were gone, elk had disappeared from the 
East and were fast disappearing in the 
West, and the white-tailed deer population 
had shrunk to the point where it could no 
longer survive in the East. All other hoofed 
animals in the wild also became scarce. 

Luckily, extinction, Ihe seemingly inevi- 
table conclusion to all the slaughter, was 
averted. In this century came protective 
legislation, mandating a ban on commer- 
cial hunting, the establishment of more na- 
tional parks and wildlife refuges, and the 
application of such management practices 
as restocking and closed seasons for sport 
hunting. Hoofed game animals soon re- 
plenished their numbers. Now elk and mule 
deer are common again in the West and the 
white-tail is everywhere. Other hoofed 
species are locally abundant. The white- 
tail is often pointed to as the primary suc- 
cess story of game management. 

This new appreciation of the environ- 
ment's importance is expected to benefit 
other big animals, too. Many wildlife pro- 
fessionals believe that few of our large wild 
animals will soon become extinct, although 
they may eventually be confined to pro- 
tected preserves. Among the species 
given a good chance of survival are the 
black bear, the mountain lion, the beaver, 
and the wild turkey, all rather numerous in 
some areas. The turkey has even ex- 
panded its range recently because of re- 
stocking efforts. However, the fact that 
each of these species has undergone a 
severe population decline indicates they 
still need help. 

The blackj^ear is a case in poinf. Once 
common throughout the United States, it is 
still numerous in the West but has declined 

120 OMNI 

dramatically in the Easf. The leveling of 
large unbroken stands of forest, essential 
lo the black bear's survival, is the major 
cause of this animal's decline. Not too long 
ago the black bear was considered vermin, 
and there was a bounty on its pelt (a few 
localities still offer a bear bounty), but in 
recent decades it has become a game 
animal. As such, it enjoys the same protec- 
tion given hoofed big game. And as with 
the white-tail deer, one other development 
in ihe black bear's favor is the reversion of 
farmland to woodland in parts of the East. 
In western Massachusetts, where trees 
now cover some farms, black bears are in 
residence again after an absence of many 
years, They are less adaptable than most 
other successful big animals, but their 
comparative lack of aggressiveness and 
their omnivorous diet enable them to live 
close to man without posing a significant 
threat. Given forest cover, the black bear 
can live with people — if we'll let him. 
An ability to share human habitat is all- 

iJhe success of the hanuman 

langur in India, 

where few large animals 

now survive, 

is due to its status as 

"sacred monkey." if 

that status changes, the langur 

will be threatened* 

important to most big animals, bul some 
good-sized creatures flourish precisely 
because they do not share our domain. 
This group encompasses some of the big 
marine animals and those that live in envi- 
ronments too harsh for man. "Marine 
mammals have a better chance of survival 
ioday than land mammals because no one 
is building houses in the sea." So says Dr. 
Burney LeBoeuf, of the University of 
California at Santa Cruz. Following this rea- 
soning, LeBoeuf names the harbor seal, 
which is bofh widely distributed and 
numerous, as one animal that has an excel- 
lent prospect for survival through the next 
century, along with a number of inhabitants 
of the Arctic or Antarctic, such as the ring, 
harp, Weddell, and leopard seals. Most 
penguin species will survive for the same 
reason. George Gaylord Simpson, in his 
book Penguins . notes that some species of 
penguin are becoming more numerous 
because of man's slaughter of whales, 
which compete with them for food. 

Some large sharks, such as the blue 
shark, are seemingly foreordained for sur- 
vival, too, in the opinion of Robert Hueter, of 
the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School 

of Marine' Sciences. The blue shark is 
abundant and has a high reproductive rate 
(for a shark); these traits will probably en- 
able it to win out over its rarer and more 
feared relative, Ihe great white shark. 

Animals that live in, or depend on, the 
ocean do face one danger that may affect 
their survival: pollution. But we know little 
about the cumulative effects of pollution on 
reproduction and mortality. 

The creatures that by all indications 
should still be around a century from now 
are all familiar animals. Over a longer 
period of time, according to Dr. Paul Opler. 
of the U.S. Office of Endangered Species, 
new species of animals better adapted to 
man and to his influence on the planet will 
evolve from today's mosi successful 
species. While the evolution of a new 
species is usually a slow process, mea- 
sured in eons, not centuries, it can occur 
more quickly. "All that has to happen for 
evolution lo occur," Opler says, "is for a 
population to become isolated. The iso- 
lated populaiion then specializes and be- 
comes increasingly different, genetically, 
from Ihe surrounding population." 

A classic study by Dr. Guy Bush, con- 
ducted at the University of Texas, shows 
that this process occurred in native fruit 
flies over a very short period when some 
fruit trees were introduced from other coun- 
tries, Fruit flies are notorious for the speed 
with which they can make genetic 
changes, but Opler notes that animals like 
Ihe house sparrow, the coyote, and domes- 
tic cats that have reverted to a feral state all 
appear to be undergoing evolutionary 
changes at present. Before long, new' 
species might arise from any of these ani- 
mals. Changes may already be occurring. 

On an island off the coast of Taiwan, 
what appears to be a new species of wild 
cat, the Iriomote cat, has been found. 
Biologists dispute whether it is a genuine 
new species or only a wild domestic car. 

The future. Opler predicts, will bring 
other such creatures, as well as new 
species arising from today's wild animals. 
Since humankind is responsible, even if 
unwittingly, for the success of all these 
beasts, we are in a sense creating our own 
new species. Before too. too many more 
years, humanity itself will vanish (an- 
thropologically speaking, our own demise 
is already somewhat overdue], leaving be- 
hind Ihe species that evolved on a human- 
dominated planet. Hundreds of thousands 
of years after man's extinction, enough new 
species will have emerged to bring the de- 
pleted fauna of the earth back to the equi- 
librium that existed before man's arrival. 

Meanwhile, the species that adapted to 
humans will have to readapf fo a world with 
many more species but minus man. Will 
they succeed? It seems likely, Opler feels, 
that some of the species that learned to 
live with man's pesticides and pollutants 
can learn to live without Ihem. The earth 
of the distani future will contain creatures 
strangely reminiscent of the mosl success- 
ful animals today. DO 


"How I Gained Control of a 

Galactic Empire" 

"Actually, I only gained control ot the plane! 
Dune. But that's all I needed to control the galactic em- 

"This rotten, barren, desolate planet happened to 
be crucial to the destiny ot the empire. Why? Because 
spice is the key to intersieller travel. And only on Dune 
can spice be found and harvested. 

"Sound familiar? Yes, it you are a Frank Herbert 
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And in the first of the Dune-trilogy, Paul Maud'Dib, the 
good guy, gains control of the planet, 

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fact, I couldn't put this fascinating game down. Dune, 
the game, happens to be, in my view, one of the most 
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are so colossal that 22 years afler Sputnik 
went into orbit, the Americans and the Rus- 
sians overwhelmingly dominate the heav- 
ens. Following years of on-again, off-again 
attempts to musler resources (or space re- 
search and applications, there's a growing 
sense ol competence and achievement in 
Europe's space enterprise. This is so be- 
cause Europe is about to become the 
world's third wholly self-sufficient space 
power, small in relation to what the giants 
are doing, but of sufficient size and capa- 
bility to make Europe's presence felt in 
space research, communications, and re- 
mote sensing. (China, France, and Japan 
have put small satellites into orbit, but their 
efforts are modest compared to the Euro- 
pean program.) 

One of the paradoxes of European 
space efforts is that many of Europe's pres- 
ent activities are heavily intertwined with 
the American space program. European- 
built satellites regularly go aloft on Ameri- 
can launch vehicles; European space 
tracking stations fit into NASA's deep- 
space tracking net; a European consortium 
is the designer and builder of the vastly 
complicated manned Spacelab, which will 
ride aboard the American space shuttle. 
Under construction in Bremen, Germany, 
by a European consortium led by ERNO, a 
major German aerospace corporation, the 
$800-million Spacelab will provide a 
"shirt-sleeve" environment for scientists 
performing experiments on gravity-free 
materials processing, earth-resources 
surveying, a variety of biomedical under- 
takings, and a long list of others that are still 
being worked into the flight schedule. 

This transatlantic technological and 
scientific togetherness is, of course, not 
confined to space. It is found in the basic 
sciences, where, for example, U.S. and 
European high-energy physicists regularly 
circulate through each other's laboratories 
in a healthy atmosphere of cordial collab- 
oration and intense competition. It also 
exists in military research, where the 
United States and Europe have worked 
jointly on the development of a supertank 
for NATO forces for the remainder of the 
century. Bui, while the United States has 
always been generous in providing Europe 
with launch services, space aboard U.S. 
research satellites, and access to U.S. 
remote-sensing capabilities, the indis- 
pensable launch capability has remained 
under U.S. control, leaving Europe in the 
role of customer or guest. That the United 
States, for political reasons, preferred it this 
way— and sought to discourage European 
space independence by offering free or 
inexpensive launch services— is quite 
clear. (After all, the United States followed 
the same practice with uranium enrich- 
ment, telling the Europeans, in effect, that 
there was no necessity to build those ex- 
pensive plants when it already had them 

and would take care of their needs.) 

Europe's answer in space— after a pro- 
tracted and painful gestation — stands 47.4 
meters high, weighs 208 tons, and bears 
the symbolic name of Ariane, after the 
mythological Cretan maiden who helped 
guide a future Athenian king safely through 
a monster's maze. Ariane, designed to put 
two-ton satellites into sun-synchronous or- 
bit, is perhaps the ultimate symbol of 
Europe's newfound ability to bring 
technological harmony out of political 

The field of Europe's space ambitions is 
strewn with the debris of collaborative ef- 
forts that were hall-heartedly started, un- 
derfinanced, poorly led, and then either 
terminated or rolled over into new organiza- 
tions. This has led Europe's space en- 
thusiasts to conclude caustically that polit- 
ically induced cancellations, rather than 
failures on the launching pad, have been 
the main impediments to Europe's devel- 
opment as an equal partner. Ariane is dif- 

4 We learned how to do things 

the American way," says 
physicist Herwig Schopper. 

"But in the meantime 

you've picked up Europe's 

■ red tape. Once we 

get our budget, we're free 

to use it.^ 

ferent, because — as with the ILL neutron- 
research center — it has benefited from the 
convergence of technology and politics. 
And economic prosperity increasingly fur- 
nishes Europe the wherewithal for the high 
costs of front-line science and technology. 

Ariane is sprung from France's political 
determination to possess its own nuclear 
retaliatory force and from its technological 
accomplishment in building the rockets 
necessary to maintain that force. Having 
invested billions of francs in intercontinen- 
tal military missiles, France invited its 
European neighbors, under the auspices 
of the European Space Agency, to collabo- 
rate on the development and manufacture 
of a multistage launch vehicle of sufficient 
capability to give Europe total indepen- 
dence in the launching and operation of 
unmanned satellites. 

But— and this is where (his project dif- 
fers from past efforts to put Europe into 
space— Ariane has only one boss. Aero- 
spatiale, France's vast aerospace con- 
glomerate. At the Ariane assembly facility, 
in Mureaux, on the outskirts of Paris, gen- 
eral manager Pierre Usunier wryly re- 
marked, "We had originally hoped for 

cooperation with the United States in de- 
veloping our ballistic systems. The United 
States refused, and we had to develop the 
technologies by ourselves, which enabled 
us to learn a great lesson: Any technology 
can be developed if you spend enough." 

Though, as of this writing, Ariane is yet to 
prove- itself, there's no lack of confidence in 
its potential. Wilh Intelsat having already 
contracted to have one of its "birds" put into 
orbit by Ariane— from a launching site in 
Fre.nch Guiana— nearly 40 European 
aerospace f i rms have formed a company to 
provide a commercial base for carrying on 
the production of Ariane and selling launch 

For the American and Soviet space 
establishments— so long accustomed to 
an oligarchy in space — the message from 
Europe is that company is on the way. Skep- 
tics may counter with the observation that, 
with the United States currently spending 
about $8 billion a year on civilian and mili- 
tary space programs, Europe's efforts of $1 
billion or so annually really don't amount to 
very much. The reality of the matter, how- 
ever, is that while the United States, for polit- 
ical and technological reasons, can't afford 
to lag in any important aspect of space 
research, Europe is free to call its shots and 
concentrate its efforts. Being a determined 
but unhurried participant in the formidably 
expensive field of space research has its 
own advantages, in the view of Dr. Othmar 
Heise, director of research and develop- 
ment for Germany's huge Messerschmitt- 
Bblkow-Blohm aerospace company. 
"Europe has tried to avoid monster space 
projects," Dr. Heise said. "What we're look- 
ing for are certain areas of challenging 
technologies that might put us ahead of 
American industries." Conceding the pres- 
ent big U.S. lead in space fechnology, and 
disavowing any European interest in all-out 
competition, Heise asserted that the Euro- 
pean strategy is paying off. "In the last five 
years some European space products 
have reached the complexity and reliability 
of U.S. products. And some are ahead," he 
said, citing high-power electronic tubes, in 
which he estimates that Europe has 
achieved a two- to three-year lead over the 
United States. 

The French, with their traditional quest 
for independence between the giants of 
East and West, voice considerably grander 
ambitions than their West German part- 
ners. In the opinion of Hubert Curien, a 
veteran research administrator who directs 
the French space agency. "The object is 
autonomy. What we want is autonomous 
capacity to put satellites into orbit." 

That autonomy is close to being within 
Europe's grasp. 

We've so far focused on how Europe, by 
pooling its resources, is making the grade 
in big science— those multimillion- (some- 
limes billion-) dollar efforts that mobilize 
highly sophisticated apparatuses and 
highly trained research teams. However, 
this current European rebirth is taking 


place on many levels, not just on the costly 
peaks of research, The Continent is also 
experiencing a boom in so-called little 
science, and alongside those big multi- 
national research programs there's also a 
resurgence of purely national scientific ac- 
tivities and an accompanying breakdown 
of the rigid institutional boundaries that 
have long thwarted interdisciplinary re- 
search in Europe. 

A good example isto be found in Lyons, 
France, where two young researchers — 
from nearby but different institutions, as 
well as different disciplines — are col- 
labprating on the development of electronic 
devices to provide instantaneous diagno- 
ses of burned tissue to guide the applica- 
tion of therapeutic practices. Working to- 
gether on this project are Jacques Marichy, 
a physician in the burn ward of the Edouard 
Herriot Hospital, and an old friend and col- 
league, Andre Dittmar, of the faculty of 
medicine, who holds advanced degrees in 
electrical engineering and physiology. In 
part drawing upon electronics technology 
devised for the French space program, the 
two researchers have succeeded in simul- 
taneously making 20 vital measurements 
from the skin surface of severely burned 
patients. The research provides close 
guidance for determining the most favor- 
able time for skin grafts and also monitors 
the body's acceptance of grafts. Dr. 
Dittmar remarks that such interdisciplinary 
collaboration was highly unusual as re- 
cently as several years ago, but it is now 
becoming more common. 

At the internationally renowned Pasteur 
Institute, in Paris, the research setting for 
eight of the nine Nobel prizes that France 
has received in the category of medicine or 
physiology, modern biomedical techniques 
are being fused with the founder's historic 
interest in the beneficial use of microbes. 
Following a long period of financial uncer- 
tainty, the institute was restored to financial 
health by a big boost in government 
assistance — from 19 percent of its budget 
in 1975 to fully 50 percent now. The effect, 
according to Joel de Rosnay, Pasteur's di- 
rector for research applications, is that the 
institute has the re sources for wide-ranging 
programs that extend from basic biology to 
the development of laboratory apparatuses, 
such as the Pyrodistillator, which produces 
superpurified water for cell research. With 
52 separate research groups at work at the 
1.000-member institute, studies are under 
way on viral vaccines, parasitology at the 
molecular level, and the automation of vari- 
ous diagnostic procedures. 

"The big difference between now and, 
let's say, ten years ago," De Rosnay ob- 
served, "is that science now has a high 
status in Europe. It gets better press cover- 
age. It's on television. Biology, in particular, 
is recognized as having great importance 
for health, the environment, and agriculture." 

This optimistic view would provoke 
strong dissent in Britain, where the scien- 
tific community has experienced numer- 
ous ups and downs— mostly downs, in 

recent years — as the government has insti- 
tuted one belt-tightening measure after 

another in an attempt to stop runaway infla- 
tion. British scientists, however, do man- 
age to remain in the forefront of many major 
fields of research. Molecular biology is one 
of these, and to get some insight into 
how— despite enforced austerity— British 
science remains tops in this field, I visited 
with the distinguished researcher Sydney 
Brenner, of the Medical Research Council 
Laboratory of Molecular Biology, at Cam- 
bridge. Brenner, who received the 1979 
Gairdner International Prize for decipher- 
ing how living organisms "read" and 
"translate" the genetic code, has been en- 
gaged in a years-long project aimed at 
mapping the nervous and genetic systems 
of the Caenorhabditis elegans, a small, 
free-living nematode worm. 

Money is, of course, important, Brenner 
agreed, but at least equally important, he 
insisted, are the stipulations attached to the 
use of the money In that regard, he said, 

^There's no pressure to give 

quick results, " says 
Cambridge biologist Sydney 

Brenner. "We can 
afford to innovate. We don't 

have to ask 

who's offering money for what 

kind of research. 3 

the Cambridge lab has an advantage over 
many better-supported laboratories in 
other countries. "We know long in advance 
what our budget is going to be, and we 
know that we're not going to be put under 
pressure for quick results," he said, obvi- 
ously referring to his American counter- 
parts' frequent experience with twists and 
turns in congressional appropriations for 
biomedical research and accompanying 
political demands for glittering results- 
fast. "There is no pressure for us to pro- 
duce, and consequently we innovate, be- 
cause there is no pressure. We don't start 
out by saying, 'Who's offering money for 
what kind of research?' Instead, we'll de- 
cide that a problem is worth looking at, and 
as long as it remains unsolved and con- 
tinues to look important, we'll continue to 
work on it," 

The Cambridge lab, which Brenner 
modestly describes as "part of the interna- 
tional scientific scene," has a staff of about 
130, of whom 40 are long-term visitors- 
graduate students and senior 
researchers — from North America. Bren- 
ner said with some satisfaction, "I regularly 
hear from American deans and depart- 

ment chairmen who want advice on finding 
top people for vacancies." 

Finally, in surveying Europe's scientific 
and technological renaissance, let's shift 
from Great Britain to prosperous West 
Germany, and let's look at the leading man- 
ifestation of Germany's determination to be 
in the vanguard of modern science— its 
big atom smasher. DESY (for Deutsches 
Elektronen Synchrotron), at Hamburg. 
Though regularly used by foreign scien- 
tists, DESY is Germany's own high-energy- 
physics laboratory, paid for mainly by the 
Federal Republic, with a 10-percent con- 
tribution from the Hamburg government. 
And, with DESY's new machine. PETRA, 
the world's largest positron-electron 
colliding-beam device, just coming on line. 
DESY is a very expensive operation — 
currently costing about $60 million a year 
for operating expenses. Britain closed 
down its own accelerators to finance its 
dues for the big CERN synchrotron. Ger- 
many, while keeping up its participation at 
CERN, chose to expand DESY, in hot com- 
petition with Stanford University's particle 
accelerator, apparently with stunning suc- 
cess. Last August, using DESY's newly in- 
augurated PETRA machine, an interna- 
tional team of physicists glimpsed the 
long-sought and elusive gluon. the whimsi- 
cally named subatomic particle that 
theorists had postulated as the binding 
force for groups of quarks. If the gluon re- 
search is corroborated, it will inevitably 
lead to a Nobel Prize. 

Among the world community of high- 
energy physicists. DESY is renowned as a 
laboratory where things get done. DESY's 
director, Herwig Schopper, agrees with 
some embarrassment that perhaps that's 
true. "We learned how to do things the 
American way" he said ironically, "but in the 
meantime you've picked up all of Europe's 
red-tape practices. But once we get our 
budget, we're free to use it." 

Why does West Germany bear the im- 
mense expense of running such an ac- 
celerator laboratory when the trend in 
Europe is toward cost-sharing for such 
costly facilities? 

The answer was succinctly offered by 
Germany's minister of Science and 
Technology, Volker Hauff, in an address to 
the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of 
the CERN laboratory. "International science 
can succeed." he said, "only if national sci- 
ence is strong." 

Germany and France have the where- 
withal to pay for both. They are the engines 
of Europe's scientific and technological re- 
naissance, with their European neighbors 
contributing as best they can, 

Western Europe is experiencing a scien- 
tific and technological renaissance, and it's 
occurring at a time when frugality and cau- 
tion have become dominant factors in the 
politics and management of American re- 
search. What's especially important to note 
is that Europe's new renaissance is just 
beginning. DO 


OCN : NUFOI FliJ'-l f'"'Gi *t 

men! had introduced new laws abput au- 
tomobile fuel and so forth, and there had 
been a remarkable improvement in the 
quality of the air 

1 mention Japan because it points up the 
worst case of technology imposing itself 
and polluting everything. But in New York. 
too. there is no question that the air has 
improved. Rome hadn't improved much 
when I was there last, but there has devel- 
oped great agitation about the Mediterra- 
nean Sea. People realize that unless some- 
thing is done soon, it is going to be a dead 
sea. So, yes, I do think the environmental 
movement is having a meaningful impact. 
Omni: That brings up the questions of so- 
cial management and understanding the 
systems we create ourselves. Jay Forrester, 
a computer specialist at MIT, believes that 
complex social systems are too full of 
feedback loops, too wildly interactive for us 
ever to untangle. Do you agree with that? 
Dubos: Yes. I don't think we can understand 
the organization of many social systems. 
Omni: Can a computer? 
Dubos: No. because it has to operate on 
instructions that we give it But my conclu- 
sion is that we must restructure society so 
that we don't have such complex systems. 
That's not impossible; in fact, it's one of the 
activities that most absorb me now. Last fall 
I was teaching at Bard College, and the 

students were complaining that it seemed 
that the world would become boring and 
standardized. They believed that shopping 
would b'e done via computerized telephone 
supermarkets, and so on. But in New York, 
in Paris, and in many other cities, I see an 
increase in the number of little shops sell- 
ing vegetables, tools, clothes. There is a 
universal tendency if we can manage it, to 
do something a little different from _what 
other people are doing. 

So I think we will create social subsys- 
tems that we can comprehend and within 
which we can function. We will make use of 
the interrelatedness that electronic tech- 
nology permits, but we will turn away from 
the notion of the world's evolving into one 
system with one government. I don't think 
we'll have a world ruled by computers. 

I see evidence of this trend to smaller, 
more or less independent social systems 
everywhere, and when I lecture about it, the 
response is enormous. So I'm sure it is in 
the spirit of the times. 
Omni: Scientists who speak directly to the 
public are oflen disparaged by their col- 
leagues as "popularizers." How would you 
describe your own role? 
Dubos: What I'm trying to do is to com- 
municate the human and social conse- 
quences of scientific and technological 
developments. Instead of trying to explain 
disease mechanisms, I say, "If you continue 
doing certain kinds of things, these are the 
consequences." The details of science 
have'become just too intricate for the public 







to keep abreast of. 

And not just thepublic! I was the editor of 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine for 
twenty-five years. I still receive it, but it is no 
longer easy for me to understand: First 1 
stopped understanding the techniques 
that were being used, then I had difficulty 
with the new jargon. Npw, while I still under- 
stand the problems they're trying to solve. 
even the titles of the articles are full of words 
I don't knowl 

So, except in a very limited number of 
fields, I no longer read technical papers. 
but I try to read those that deal with conse- 
quences. I don't know anything about 
computers— I've never worked with 
them— but I can certainly understand that 
introducing them into technological opera- 
tions is going to affect the labor market. 
And I can talk with computer specialists 
about such matters because they usually 
don't know any more than I do about the 

Omni: Is that a general strategy for dealing 
with "information overload"? One feels that 
trying to get acquainted with unfamiliar 
fields makes one's range of knowledge 
shallower as it grows broader . . . 
Dubos: I think that's always been the case. 
But it's an illusion to think there is much 
more to be learned than there was before: 
The Egyptians, for example, had more 
medical specialties than we do. Someone 
who treated the eyes didn't know anything 
about the feet. 

Actually, I think things are becoming 
easier, because our knowledge is grouped 
under more and more general laws. When I 
was a student in biology, you had to learn 
an immense number of creatures and clas- 
sifications. Now there's a framework of 
evolution and genetics, and you fit into it the 
particular problem you're working on. 
Omni: What about medicine? There is 
widespread disillusionment with our 
health-care system, its fragmentation of 
care, its mechanization of the doctor- 
patient relationship. Many people have 
turned away and looked instead to holistic 
practitioners, who seem to provide more 
human- and encompassing care. Do you 
see a danger in this? 

Dubos: First of all, it should be more widely 
known — as any doctor knows — that ninety 
percent of the conditions for which people 
seek care will resolve themselves without 
any medical intervention. 

Second, a great deal of what the physi- 
cian, whether "traditional" or "holistic," 
does is to give you confidence. And it is that 
confidence that helps you to heal yourself. 
Third, even orthodox physicians very 
often do not cure you. They give you some- 
thing that makes you able to live more com- 
fortably with your disease. It's probable 
that many people with no medical training 
can do that as well as a physician can, 
Recent papers have confirmed that 
chicken broth has some effect -no! well 
understood — in relieving some kinds of 
pulmonary congestion. So there you are! 
Omni: You played an important role in the 

development of antibiotics. What do you 
think ot the publio's faith in "wondef 

Dubos: A while ago I had a touch ot bron- 
chitis, but that's the kind of thing that takes 
care of itself; so I didn't take any drugs tor 
that. Seven or eight years ago, though, 1 
became very sick. At first I thought it was 
just my age. But I went to my physician, 
who diagnosed the disease and put me on 
a fantastic dose of penicillin and strep- 
tomycin. I learned later that I'd had bacte- 
rial endocarditis, which used to be fatal. 

So I think the unique role of a good clini- 
cian is to recognize those conditions that 
cannot be helped by natural processes or 
confidence or symptomatic treatment. I 
" worked on a Navajo reservation, where the 
people went to their medicine man for all 
sorts of things. But when he encountered a 
case of tuberculosis, he sent the person to 
the local physician for antibiotics. A truly 
wise medicine man. 

Plato said, "If by the age of thirty you 
have not discovered by yourself what is 
good for you, then there is no hope for you." 
I think the kind of holistic health care we 
were speaking of is what people of com- 
mon sense, who are. not blinded by fads or 
deaf to signals from within, do naturally. 
Omni: Are there other areas in which con- 
temporary faith or dogma poses a danger? 
Dubos: I think there is a great danger 
within our present social organization in 
that more and more young people are not 
finding a meaningful occupation. Since 
early in the last century, we have tried in- 
creasingly to do everything efficiently, with 
the least possible effort and human in- 
volvement. That's a false and destructive 
dogma. The real efficiency is to organize 
society so that more people participate 
more actively throughout their lives. Today 
we have a situation where many young 
people cannot participate until they are 
thirty, which is desocializing and de- 
humanizing, because one is human to the 
extent that one participates in something. ■ 
Omni: What about efficiency in scientific 
work?SenatorProxmire. as you know, gives 
out "Golden Fleece Awards" for what he 
considers wasteful or pointless research. 
Dubos: I think there is too much fat in sci- 
ence: A lot of people are in science only 
because it pays well, and I don't like that. 

But you have to criticize science at a 
much more fundamental level than Prox- 
mire does by selecting examples of queer- 
looking research. He doesn't understand 
that important discoveries have come from 
research that might have looked ridiculous 
at the beginning. Practically all ot modern 
genetics stems from the study of the iruit 
fly, for example, and it would have been 
easy to say that it was ridiculous to study 
fruit flies. One has to know why a particular 
scientist is working with that particular 
ridiculous thing before one can decide 
whether it's wasteful or not. 
Omni: What do you think will be the most 
fruitful research in the next few years? 
Dubos: I think that in medicine it will be the 

138 OMNI 

exploration of the mutual effects of the 
mind and the body, especially with the re- 
cent discoveries of brain hormones, which 
seem to condition all aspects of behav- 
ior— mood, the perception of pleasure and 
pain, and so on. I must say, I was dumb- 
founded by the significance of these dis- 
coveries. 1 think they are going to change 
our thinking dramatically. 

The biggest unknown, though, remains 
the meaning of free will. Despite all the 
evidence of hormonal programming, I re- 
tain absolute confidence that somehow we 
are able to override it. Samuel Johnson 
said, "All of science and knowledge is 
against freedom of the will. All common 
sense is for it." This I feel very strongly 
about. If you give someone a tuberculin 
patch test on both arms, hypnotize him, 
and say, "Your right arm will be negative, 
and your left arm positive," that's very often 
what happens. So if hypnotic suggestion 
can change a vascular reaction, then any- 
thing else is possible. 
Omni: You spoke earlier of free will in 
terms of your own career choices. If you 
were a young man starting out today, what 
field would you go into? 
Dubos: For pleasure, I would go into land- 
scape architecture: for scientific interest, 
into biology, especially to study the effect 
of the brain on the mind. And because I 
think the great advances in the future will be 
in understanding relationships, rather than 
in the description of substances or events, 
I would also go into communications. 

We know much more about how to store 
and convey bits of information than we do 
about how to make them meaningful. If 
something spectacular, like the mass 
suicide in Guyana, happens, we can con- 
vey it to almost everybody via television 
and soon. But we don't know how to trans- 
mit information about how to live, how to 
produce things. That area interests me 

Omni: It sounds as if you'd have no trouble 
starting over. As a biologist, though, have 
you been able to come to terms with the 
inevitability of your death? 
Dubos; Oddly enough, it never preoc- 
cupies me. I know my life expectancy is not 
long now, but I plant trees every year. 

I understand that such an absence of 
preoccupation is not that uncommon. The 
Russian scientist Metchnikov once made a 
survey of very old people in Russia and 
France and found that they weren't worried 
about death. In his words, "At the end of a 
long day, when you have been fully oc- 
cupied, the time comes to rest." 

I suspect that eventually a certain las- 
situde, or perhaps a feeling of satiety 
somewhat like that one has after a full meal, 
will overtake me — a feeling that says, in 
essence, "I've had enough. I don't want 
any more." And my suspicion is that this 
feeling would be normal, a built-in trait that 
prevents obsession with the idea of death. 
Biologically, it would be normal to want to 
live only for as IPng as. we are biologically 
equipped to live. DO 


Here are answers to the numbered 

items in the Games column (page 144): 

1. Split-second timing. 

2. Just between you and me. 

3. Three degrees below zero. 

4. A bad spell ot weather. 

5. To be overtenacious in the midst of 
trifles is the mark of a mean understand- 

6. There is an overwhelming differ- 
ence between vice and virtue. 

7. I am above making mischief be- 
tween man and wife, 

8. Oedipus's answer was: "Man, who 
crawls as a child, walks upright in his 
prime, and uses a cane in old age." 

9. Fleas. 

10. Voltaire. 

11. Florence Nightingale -■ Flit on. 
cheering angel. 

12. Presbyterian — Best in prayer 

13. Telegraph — Great help. 

14. Revolution — To love ruin. 













17. Merry Christmas! DO 



B. Pat Hill; paga 16 W. C. Stews Oolle^b.i 


pnen C. John si 


la/s. ■■'id- Disi 

y Productions; paga 38. 


■Iambi.. g Germany, paga M 

.•:.;;:;. (j.a<i* IS. 


Mnfe Star New 

rlghl. Qeoroe -lol.on^liol-j Re- 

tt NASA, paga 4S rlgh! 

chers paga 49 rlghl, G 

.pis, paga SO left, Massacl 

ugaSO rlghl. UPI; paga 90. Chris 


pageSS Colin Hay; paga 94. Ellen Gnesediisck- So 


y; page 103. St 

.on. pagan 1 ill i 



ony EseoB. 


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second lime, he saw two Native; Americans 
carrying a guardsman — the Captain oi the 
guardsmen -toward the tire too. The Cap- 
tain's saber had sliced through one of the 
Native Americans, and it musl have dis- 
abled some, circuil because the Native 
American walked badly. But in a moment 
more the Captain was burning, his red uni- 
form ablaze, his hands thrown up like- 
tongues of flame, his black eyes glazing 
and cracking, bright metal running irom 
him like sweal to harden among the ashes 
under the logs. 

The Clown tried to wrestle with Bear but 
Bear threw him down. The Dragon's teeth 
were sunk in Bear's left heel, but Bear 
kicked himself free. The Calico Cat was 
burning, burning. The. Gingham Dog tried 
to pull, her out, but the Monkey pushed him 
into the fire. For a moment Bear thought pt 
the cellar stairs and the deep, dark cellar, 
where there were boxes and bundles and a 
hundred forgotten corners. If he ran and 
hid. the New Toys might never find him, 
might never even try to find him. Years from 
now Robin would discover him, covered 
with dust. 

The Dancing Doll's scream was high and 
sweet, and Bear limed -otacc the Knight's 
upraised sword. 

When Robin's mother got up on Christ- 
mas'- Morning. Robin was awake already. 
sitting under the Iree with the Cowboys, 
watching the' Native Americans do their 
rain dance. The Monkey was perched on 
his shoulder, the Raggedy Girl (pro- 
grammed, the store had assured Robin's 
mother, to begin Robin's sex education) in 
his lap, and the Knight and the Dragon 
were at his feet. "Do you like the toys Sanla 
brought you. Robin'?" Robin's mother 

"One of the Native Amer'cans doesn't 

"Never mind, dear. We'll take him back. 
Robin, I've got something important to tell 

Bertha the robot msiacame in with corn- 
flakes and milk and vitamins for Robin and 
cafe au laft for Robin's mother. "Where is 
Ihose old toys?" she asked. "They done a 
picky-poor job of cleanin' up this room." 

"Robin, your toys are just loys, of 

Robin nodded absently. A red calf was 
coming out of the chute, with a cowboy on a 
roping horse after him, 

"Where is those old toys. Ms. Jackson?" 
Bertha asked again. 

"They're programmed to self-destruct, I 
understand," Robin's mother said. "But, 
Robin, you know how the new toys all came, 
the Knight and Dragon and all your Cow- 
boys, almost by magic? Well, the same 
thing can happen with people." 

Robin looked si I lerw [heightened eyes. 

"The same wonderful thing is going to 
happen here, in Our home. "DO 

OMNI, the magazine of to- 
morrow, means back issues 
could well be ahead of, in- 
stead of behind the times. 
Limited supplies ofthe 
above issues are still avail- 
able at $3.00 each including 
postage and handling. List 
the issues you've missed and 
need, enclose your check or 
money orderalong with your 
name and address and mail 
to OMNI Back Issues, RO. Box 
903, Farmtngdale, N.Y. 11737. 

We'll rush you the magazines 
of tomorrow that 
sale yesterday. 


The OMNI Umbrella is 25" in diameter (unisex size). It's made of 
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The OMNI Duffle Bag is made o ; ■■. -coated nylor with Diack 

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Old-time Riverboat 
Playing Cards 

Both of these decks are prettier than a paint- 
ing, and so is the antique tin card case. Each 
card is a bit larger and thicker than normal- 
like those used on riverboats in the 1890's. 
There's a black and a green deck-both with 
an antique gold "distillery design." The face 
cards are reproduced from 100-year-old art- 
work, So it's a real unusual set oi cards for 
the serious player. Twin deck in antique case: 
$8.50. Postage included. 

xpress, Visa or Master Char 
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(Tennessee residents add 6% 

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send SI. 00::.' above ace 

the S 




removed trom Erdos. One who is E^ carries 
the status of a tour-star general compared 
with one who is only Eg. 

Erdos has paid-up for several solu- 
tions-^ in 1954, $100 in 1968. But the 
money was trivial compared to the honor: 
Some winners even refused to cash their 
checks, preferring instead to have them 
framed. As with other challenge prizes, the 
amount of work expended is completely 
out of proportion to the prize money. One 
man spent eight months solving a $250 

Offering prizes for a mathematical prob- 
lem gives the proposer a chance to make a 
very explicit quantitative statement about 
how hard or important he thinks it is and 
also whether it is likely to be true or not. 
Some offers are of the form "$50 for a proof, 
$10 for a counterexample." 

The most Erdos has ever paid was a 
$1,000 award. His biggest offer now is 
$3,000, for a proof of a theorem in elemen- 
tarynumber theory: If a! <a 2 <a 3 < . . isa 
sequence of positive integers and if 

infinite, then 



the a,s contain arithmetical progressions ot 
every length, You can win the S3, 000 by 
showing that there is a limit to the length of 
such arithmetical progressions or by prov- 
ing that there is no limit. 

What's the chance of winning the 
$3,000? The sixty-six-year-old Erdos says. 
"I do not really expect to have to pay it. It 
seems too difficult. However." he adds. "I 
should leave some money for it." 


Thesecreiof agoco Cm engeprizeisto 
formulate the rules carefully to prevent any- 
one from winning on a fluke or slipping 
through some loophole in the wording. 
Mathematical proofs are relatively straight- 
forward. But in other fields it sometimes 
takes ingenuity to foresee all conceivable 

Again, Henry Kremer seems to be the 
model of intelligent foresight. He specifi- 
cally forbade any human-powered aircraft 
from getting a push from the ground, using 
any hghter-than-air gases, jettisoning any- 
thing once airborne, or using stored energy. 
He also set limits on the maximum allow-. 
able wind speed and ground slope. His 
figure-eight requirement was just the 
choice to ensure a truly airworthy winner. 

Nobel laureate Richard Feynman (see 
Omni. May 1979) once had to pay for an 
achievement that, while remarkable, wasn't 
quite what he wanted, in 1 960, at the end of 
a lecture on miniaturization, the Caltecn 
physicist offered $1 ,000 for the first working 
electric motor less than one sixty-fourth of 
an inch on a side — much smaller than a 
pinhead, Feynman wanted a machine so 
small that it couldn't be built in the ordinary 

way, with tools held in human hands. "Right 
after I gave the talk," Feynman said, "a 
friend of mine, Don Glaser [who's also a 
Mobel Prize winner in physics], came up to 
me and said, 'You're trying to describe 
something so small that you can't make it 
directly; you'd have to do it in two stages. 
Make one machine, which makes a smaller 
machine. A sixty-fourth of an inch is too 
big. You should have said one two-hun- 
dredths of an inch. 1 " 

It turned out that one Nobel-laureate-to- 
be should have listened to the other. A few 
months later a man named William McLel- 
lan came in with a motor of the specified 
size, and Feynman had to pay up. "That 
guy was too clever for me," Feynman said. 
"He did it by hand, using a toothpick, a 
microscope, and a watchmaker's lathe. He 
rolled wires between glass plates to get 
them down to an extremely small size, and 
he put the whole thing together with tools 
he held in his hands. I wanted something 
so small that only a machine could make it, 
but I didn't get it." 

Prizewinner McLellan, asked to submit 
ideas for new challenge prizes for this arti- 
cle, was cautious. "I have nothing to sug- 
gest," he replied. "I'm a little afraid that 
there might be a loophole in it and that 
somebody would get a ringer through. I 
fully understood what Feynman wanted 
and gave him the option of not accepting 
my motor as the winner because no new 
technology was involved. After all, he didn't 
need the motor. It was to be an example of 
the new techniques. But he was a gentle- 
man and said it fully met the challenge as 
written. He had assumed that a new 
method would be necessary, and it was his 
oversight for not stating it specifically." 

When Feynman posed his micromotor 
challenge, he also offered a second $1 ,000 
prize to anyone who could miniaturize the 
information on a printed page and reduce it 
by a factor of 25,000 on a side, "When I 
offered the prizes. I was single," he said. 
"When I wanted to get married, I told my 
wife what my assets were. I don't think we 
were married for more than a week or so 
when I had 'to say 'By the way, darling, I 
have to give a thousand dollars to this guy 
McLellan, who has made this electric 
motor. 1 And she said, 'Oh? And what other 
little surprises have you got waiting?' " 

That story got around in physics circles, 
and ouf of respect for Feynman's new wife 
many physicists considered the offer with- 
drawn. No one has ever come forth with a 
claim on the other $1,000. "I didn't really 
mean to withdraw completely. I just made a 
joke about it," Feynman says. 

But perhaps he should count on the stat- 
ute of limitations: IBM researchers recently 
patented a dye laser storage scheme ca- 
pable of storing 100x10 6 elements per 
square centimeter, with 1,000 bits per ele- 
ment, well within the margin of Feynman's 


The rules of a challenge prize must be 


Not just a diary. A work of art, complete with full-color illustrations 
(as they iicoea.' in Olv'N ) marking each month. .Ard for every cay in your 
schedule, you'll find an interesting piece of scier.-.i : 'k: hfr.rmat -n. 
Attractive v bound h ::ray si ~/ie clo:h w i I h .siIk nioi r s lima. $25.00 

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MIS 1P7 


NOTE: - 



strict enougti to prevent an unfair claim, but 
they shouldn't be so complex that they stifle 
creativity. Chester Kyle, the president ot the 
International Human-Powered Vehicles 
Association (see "Future Bikes. "July 1979), 
notes that in ordinary racing, whether it is 
with motorcycles, cars, or yachts, competi- 
tors always seem to get divided into 
"classes." There are rules to specify the 
weight oi the vehicle, the engine displace- 
ment, and so on. Soon everybody's sail- 
boat or motorcycle looks alike. The Ameri- 
ca's Cup race is not a contest for the fastest 
sailboat but for the fastest within a narrowly 
defined class. 

"We've tried to break loose from that re- 
striction," Kyle says, "to let people be as 
creative as they want. We don't specify the 
type of vehicle, the type of streamlining, the 
number of wheels, or even the type of mus- 
cle power used. There's a goal of breaking 
a speed record with human power, and the 
task is to do it, The problem is how." 

The answer is that there are lots of ways, 
and the annual championships feature a 
diversity of entries. Every machine looks 
different. In the single-rider division one 
year's winner rode his bicycle in a prone. 
headfirst position, another, on his back and 
feet-first. Another year the winner was on a 
quadricycle. Other ingenious variations 
have included front-wheel drive, a rowing 
quadricycle. even a streamlined, hand- 
powered wheelchair. The range of entries is 
limited only by designers' imaginations, 
and the IHPV Association wants to keep it 

that way. 


Another type of prize challenges the va- 
lidity of a questionable claim. It is often 
used to publicize the fact that an assertion 
is unproved, since the prize money remains 

■ Several "put up or shut up" prizes have 
been offered in the realm of spiritualism. 
ESP, and paranormal phenomena. In the 
1920s Scientific American magazine of- 
fered $20,000 to any spiritualist who could 
provide convincing evidence of contact 
with spirits in the presence of qualified ob- 
servers chosen by the magazine's editors. 
Harry Houdini was for a time the star of the 
Scientific American panel, and the chal- 
lenge was eventually understood to be for 
any performance in a seance that Houdini 
could not duplicate by trickery. 

More recently the magician James "The 
Amazing" Randi has offered $10,000 to 
anyone who can demonstrate any para- 
normal ability under controlled conditions. 
Similar prizes have been offered 
elsewhere, and though many people have 
tried to claim them, no one has succeeded. 
The German magazine Die Zeit offered 
100.000 DM for a convincing psychic dem- 
onstration but has not yet had to pay. In 
Norway, the Magic Circle offered Uri Qeller 
50.000 kroner ($7,000) to perform any of 
his psychic feats under test conditions, but 
Geller has declined the challenge. 

Lawrence Kusche-, author of The Ber- 

muda Triangle Mystery: Solved, offered to 
Day $10,000 to Charles Berlitz, author of 
The Bermuda Triangle and Without a Trace, 
if Berlitz could produce any evidence to 
substantiate his recent claim that a huge 
underwater pyramid has been discovered 
in the Bermuda Triangle. Berlitz formally 
declined the challenge. 

Philip Klass, senior editor of Aviation 
Week & Space Technology magazine, has 
made an outstanding offer, also for the 
magic figure of $10,000. for any major 
piece of a UFO or for any positive evidence 
that extraterrestrials have visited the earth 
during the twentieth century. To sign up, 
you have to agree to pay Klass $100 per 
year for every year that goes by without 
positive evidence of UFOs. up- to a 
maximum of ten years. Stanton Friedman, 
author of The UFOs Are Real, is the only 
major ufologist who has signed the agree- 
ment. He has paid Klass for four years but 
has not yet tried to collect the ten grand. 
Curiously, Friedman still gives lectures stat- 
ing, "The UFOs are real." 

Challenge prizes should be offered as 
an incentive far new scientific research, 
technology, or human achievements. But 
they are not always appropriate. Such prob- 
lems as a cure for cancer or harnessing 
fusion power are already being attacked by 
huge teams working with sophisticated 
machinery too expensive for private indi- 
viduals or groups to afford. And problems 
that will have immediate commercial payoff 
probably don't need the added incentive of 
a prize, Any inventor who could make a 
battery, carburetor, or light bulb with, say, 1 
twice the efficiency of today's models 
could make much more money from patent 
rights than any conceivable prize would 
amount to. 

Good challenge prizes stimulate work 
that will be needed eventually but that isn't 
quite profitable now. McLellan's micro- 
motor pushes back the frontiers of 
miniaturization, but it generates only a mil- 
lionth of a horsepower, and, as the Guin- 
ness Book of World Records states. "The 
only suggested use so far for this ultramin- 
iature motor is to run a merry-go-round in a 
flea circus." 

In the space colonies imagined by 
Gerard O'Neill (Interview. July 1979), 
pedal-powered planes could be an every- 
day sight. For now, however, as MacCready 
admits, "This plane isn't of much practical 
use. It was built to do only one thing -win 
the Kremer Prize." 

The lessons learned in pursuit of a chal- 
lenge prize may open up whole new 
branches of a science or provide new ap- 
plications to old problems. The solution of 
Paul Erdos's $3,000 prize would open up a 
new subarea of number theory. In building . 
the Gossamer fleet, with a cruising speed 
of 10 mph, the slowest propeller-driven air- 
planes ever built, the designers learned a 
great deal about low-speed aeronautics, a 
field that should interest any pilot, since all 
planes must land and take off slowly. 
But what makes challenge prizes so ap- 

pealing in the one; is :ne economic balance 
sheet. A well-publicized, well-timed prize 
can stimulate an outpouring of human ded- 
ication and effort worth many times its face 
value. The Omni competitions over the past 
year have shown how tiny offers.- $100 for 
first prize and $25 for nine runner-up 
prizes — can stimulate an overwhelming 
response. The competitors' postage alone 
costs far in excess of the prize offered. 

What we need then is a list of the things 
we need, the accomplishments for which 
prizes should be offered, with rules care- 
fully based on the state of the art in each 
area, possible breakthroughs in the near 
future, and a sense of the directions in 
which human achievements should go. 
This is a big order and beyond the scope of 
this article, but there are a few obvious 
areas that might be pnzeworthy. In Omni 
Competition #10 (page 108) you will have a 
chance to submit your own suggestions. 

Among the challenges still to be met: 

• A windmill that could give, say, 300 watts' 
output in a 10 mph wind for a per-unit cost of 
$100 or less. 

■ A solar-powered automobile or airplane 
that converts sunlight directly into motion 
above a certain speed in real time, without 
battery storage. 

• A glider (sailplane) flight of more than 
2.000 miles (the record is 1,000 miles). 

• A manned transpacific balloon flight. 

■ A voice-identification device that can 
recognize a certain human voice with less 
than 1-percent chance of failure. 

• A robot that can clean windows, scrub 
floors, fold laundry and mix drinks. 

• The first woman to run the marathon in 
less than 2 hours, 20 minutes (or ac- 
complish another feat usually in the domain 
of men), 

• The first person over sixty years old to run 
the mile in less than five minutes. 

, ■ The first human-powered airplane to do a 
barrel roll orloop. 

■ The first successful live births in captivity 
of endangered species that have so far 
resisted such attempts. 

• The first human-powered ornithopter to 
fly the Kremer figure-eight course, or a 
motorized ornithopter that exceeds the 
speed of the fastest bird. 

■ A human-powered boat that can exceed 
a given speed in still water; or a one-man, 
pedal-powered, propeller- driven water ve- 
hicle that can beat an eight-oar shell (at 14 
mph, the fastest human-powered transport 
now in the water; the best single-man scull 
goes no faster than 1 1 mph). 

• Passing new milestones in the efficient 
utilization of nonpolluting energy sources. 

• Breeding elusive plant forms compara- 
ble to the white marigold, for which the 
Burpee Seed Company paid $10,000. How 
much for a seedless watermelon? 

What the world needs is more "eccentric" 
visionaries like Henry Kremer, Allen Abbott, 
David Burpee, Paul Erdds, and Richard 
Feynman— mefrwho have a dream and 
enough money to stimulate the world into 
making that dream come true. DO 


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CELESTRON INTERNATIONAL, 2B35 Columbia St, Box 3578-10. Tor 



Now. the masazin 

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Send your check 

r money order 


postpaid. USAorders 



: v:iie.T,iin:..i' r...Mi,;::-ji-,i-. nan;-i;:ain£Ti:. a".d ;ii'.- 
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headquarters o' ae' -siai :jjs : ne-ss ;;tt -;ot :■■ the 
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date A f-alnun-csi-l-abiosb/inie;: i. 129.^99 
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:ji.?ie I'win E BulT.an. Exsr;.jiivs Vice-President 


;sem=c drunk. 

Only for the barest instant did shock 
paralyze her. and even for that instant only 
the tightening of the corners of her mouth 
betrayed her fury at his imprudence. 

"Senor." Ruiz-Sanchez cried .in horror, 
"you are not sterile!" 

"No. thank God." Dimsdale said, looking 
only at her 

"What are you doing here. John?" she 
asked carefully. 

"Don't you see. Reb?" He gestured like a 
beggar seeking alms. "Don't you see? It's 
all got to mean something. If it is true, 
there's got to be a point to it. some kind of 
purpose. Maybe we get just a hair smarter 
each time round the track. A bit more ma- 
ture. Maybe we grow. Maybe what you're 
trying to do will get him demoted. I've 
studied all three ot them. and. so help me 
God, every one of them is making more oi 
his childhood than Archer did." 

Her voice cracked like a whip now. 
"John! This room is not secure." 

He started, and awareness came into his 
eyes. He glanced around at terrified doc- 
tors and technicians. 

"Rebecca, I studied them all firsthand. I 
made it my business. I had to. Three 
eleven-year-old boys. Rebecca. They have 
Barents. Grandparents. Brothers and sis- 
ters. Playmates, hopes, and dreams. They 
have futures." he cried, and stopped. He 
straightened to his full height and met her 
eyes. "I will not murder them, even for you." 
"Madre de Dios. no!" Ruiz-Sanchez 
moaned in terror. The anesthesiologist 
began singing his death song, softly and to 
himself. A technician bolted hopelessly for 
the door. 

" Rebecca Howell screamed with rage, a 
hideous sound, and slammed her hands 
down on the nearest console. One hand 
shattered an irrigator, which began foun- 
taining water. "You bastard," she raged. 
"You filthy bastard!" 

He did not flinch, "I'm sorry. I thought I 

She took two steps oacKward. located a 
throwable object, and let fly with it. It was a 
tray ol surgical instruments. 

Dimsdale stood his ground. The tray it- 
self smashed into his mouth, and a 
needle-probe stuck horribly in his shoulder. 
Technicians began fleeing. 

"Reb." he said, blood starting down his 
chin, "whoever orders this incredible cir- 
cus, you and your stinking desk can't outwit 
Him! Archer died, eleven years ago. You 
cannot have him back. If you'll only listen to 
me. I can -" 

She screamed again and leaped for him. 
Her intention was plainly to kill him with her 
hands, and he knew she was more than 
capable of it, and again he stood his 

And watched her foot slip in the puddle 
on the floor, watched one flailing arm snarl 

in the cables that trailed from the casing of 
the pineal restarter and yank two of them 
loose, saw her land facedown in water at 
the same instant as the furiously sparking 
cables, watched her buck and thrash and 
begin to die. 

Frantically he located the generator that 
fed the device and sprang for it. Ruiz- 
Sanchez blocked his way. holding a surgi- 
cal laser like a dueling knife. He froze, and 
the doctor locked eyes with him. Long after 
his ears and nose told him it was too late. 
Dimsdale stood motionless. 

At last he slumped. "Quite right." he 
murmured softly. 

Ruiz-Sanchez continued to aim the laser 
at his heart, They were alone in the room. 

"I have no reason to think this room has 
been bugged by anyone but Rebecca." 
Dimsdale said wearily. 'And the only thing 
you know about me is that I won't kill inno- 
cent people. Don't try to understand what 
has happened here. You and your people 
can go in peace; I'll clean up here. I won't 
even bother threatening you." 

Ruiz-Sanchez nodded and lowered the 

"Go collect your team. Doctor, before 
they get themselves into trouble. You can 
certify her accidental death for me." 

The doctor nodded again and began to 


He turned. 

Dimsdale gestured toward the open 
cryotank. "How do I pull the plug on this?" 

Ruiz-Sanchez did not hesitate. "The biq 
switch. There, by the coils at that end." He 

An hour and a half later, Dimsdale had 
achieved a meeting of minds with Rebec- 
ca's chief security officer and her personal 
secretary and had then been left alone in 
the den. He sat at her desk and let his gaze 
rest on the terminal keyboard. At this mo- 
ment thousands of people were scurrying 
and thinking furiously. Her whole mammoth 
empire was in chaos. Dimsdale sat at its 
effective center, utterly at peace. He was in 
no hurry; he had all the time in the world. 

We do get smarter every time, he 
thought. I'm sure of it. 

He made the desk yield up the tape of 
what had transpired in the cryotheater. 
checked one detail of the tape very care- 
fully, satisfied himself that it was the only 
copy, and wiped it. Then, because he was 
in no hurry, he ordered scotch. 

When she's twenty, I'll only be fifty-seven . 
he thought happily. Not even middle-aged. 
It's going to work. This time it's going to 
work lor both of us. He set down the scotch 
and told the desk to locate for him a girl who 
had been born at one minute and forty- 
three seconds before noon. After a mo- ■ 
ment it displayed data. 

"Orphan, by God!" he said aloud. "That's 
a break." 

He took a long drink of scotch on the 
strength of it. and then he told the desk to 
begin arranging for the adoption. But it was 
the courtship he was thinking about. DO 


rjext onnrui ufd 


UNDERGROUND ARCHITECTURE— Trees grow in the Lierlys' front yard. Flowers 
bloom, breezes blow. But it never rains. The Lierlys' house cost less than other 
Oklahoma homes its size, and .it uses perhaps' a third as much energy. And. grass 
grows on the roof. Like a surprising number of American families, Price and Sylvia 
Lierly live underground. There are at leas! 3,000 subterranean homes in the Unit- 
ed States today, probably many more, and office buildings and even shoppinf 
centers are following them into the. earth. For a.look at why the caveman's ancier 
home may be the best housing for the coming decades, see the January Omr 

LOOKING BACK AT C-21 - Algirdies Eunan Olgierd Huth - Ailie, as most of us know 
her— embodied the best in biotechnology in the primitive year 2000. Gene map- 
ping, artificial fertilization, and a host mother combined to guarantee that she would 
be the healthiest, most capable child her genetic parents could produce. Allie, as her 
parents had planned, was the first person born in the twenty-first centuryln this rec- 
ord of her first 100 years, she traces the revolutions in medicine, education, gov- 
ernment, and personal freedom that electronics, bio-, and psychotechnology have 
brought about since her birth. The tale, told to science writer G. Harry Stine before 
Allie left for the .stars in the first faster-than-lighi ship, appears in next month's Omni. 

COLANI — "There are no straight lines in nature," says engineer Luigi Colani. So 
he's thrown away his straightedge.to design aircraft, autos, and furniture that curve 
into the future. Colani grew up in Berlin and trained there at the Academy of Art. 
.Today, after three decades of sculpting home and industrial products that range 
from toothbrushes to oil tankers, he just may be Europe's best-known designer 
In a stunning pictorial, January's Omni will show you the look of tomorro 

BETWEEN MAN AND MONKEY— Get ready for the most important words uttered 
the twentieth century. They're "Baby in my drink," and they were said by Washoe, ?, 
fourteen-year-old chimpanzee that/speaks American Sign Language, also used by 
the deaf. Washoe is the property —or perhaps the colleague— of Dr. Roger Fouts, a 
University oi Oklahoma psychologist pioneering in the field of interspecies com- 
munication. Washoe, a gorilla named Koko, and many other talkative simians are 
telling us man is not alone anymore. The next issue of Omni holds all their gossip. 
138 OMNI 

wonder the experts think the public is crazy 
and the public thinks the experts are liars. 
Dr. Vallee's Messengers of Deception 
takes a broader- and more ominous per- 
spective. Vallee proposes that UFOs, 
whatever they are, have been created by a 
terrestrial intelligence agency UFOs, he 
says, are not a secret weapon, as some 
have hypothesized. They are a secret con- 
trol system to manipulate the beliefs and 
the behavior of the public. The argument for 
this is subtle and ingenious. It is also 
damnably difficult to summarize. Vallee 
does demonstrate with examples from re- 
cent history that intelligence agencies have 
created some truly staggering deceptions. 
(This part of the book is great fun for fans of 
espionage stories, whether or not they are 
interested in UFOs.) 

He then points out some consequences 
of the UFO mystique, which has grown up 
in the past three decades. According to this 
mystique, certain elect individuals have 
been selected by our space brothers to 
carry their wisdom to us backward Earth 
folk. The messages carried by these elect 
ones, Vallee points out with fine Gallic irony, 
are redolent of the most reactionary 
ideologies. Authoritarianism, mysticism, a 
follow-the-guru syndrome, contempt for 
science and reason, in-group superiority, 
and messianic fervor are found among 
UFO cultisls. 

Here Vallee becomes chillingly specific! 
Naming names, he shows links among in- 
telligence agencies, occult groups, UFO 
cults, and allegedly impartial UFO study 
groups. The whole UFO phenomenon, he 
says, might well have been designed as 
a new quasi-religious faith that can be 
used to manipulate populations, just as 
churches and cults have been used by 
reactionary forces in the past. 

It is refreshing that Persinger, Lafreniere. 
and Vallee admit that some of their theories 
do not explain the enigmas they have con- 
fronted. Combining these theories, one 
can envision both that a cyclical natural 
phenomenon creates areas of strange oc- 
currences and that a cynical intelligence 
agency has capitalized on it to instill a new 

Still, some of the reports do not fit even 
that theory. The extraterrestrials that so 
many want to believe in might yet be found 
among the still-unexplained tales. But so 
might the time travelers conjectured by 
Saul Paul Sirag, the "sky critters" of Trevor 
Constable, the "ultraterrestrials" of John 
Keel, and other natural phenomena we do 
not yet understand. It will take several more ■ 
investigators as imaginative, independent, 
and free of dogma as Persinger. Lafreniere. 
and Vallee to find out. DO 

Robert Anton Wiisor. ■■s:':w-; t-.ooKs tor Omni His 
new navel is Schrodinger's Cat; The Universe 
Next Door (Pocket Books). 




Granddaddy Games 

and Competition #10: Prizes 

By Scot Morris 

"Man is a puzzle- solving animal." 
-Ronald A. Knox (1888-1957), Roman 
Catholic priest and translator 
of the Bible 

People have been amusing themselves 
with games and puzzles ever since there 
have been people. This threshold month, 
when everyone seems lo be craning 
toward the.future, peering over the hill into 
the Eighties, seems as good a time as any 
to look back to the old games that have 
been around longer than any of us. 

Games don't die; they just hibernate. 
This past year saw a flourishing game fad 
in the form of Xeroxed sheets of a satiric 
"College Entrance Exam," in which letters 
and words were arranged in relation to 
each other on the page to suggest familiar 
phrases. "S'a™", for example, is a new 
way of writing "I understand." And 
"ecnalg" is "a backward glance." With 
these in mind, can you guess the 
following? (Answers: page128.) 

Picture rebuses allowed illiterates to 
"read" and were popular in children's 

books. Letter rebuseswere more 
sophisticated and challenging and 
appeared in magazines for adults. Here 
are three over a century old. 


timing tim ing 


you just me 

3. _£l_ ; 





It may come as a surprise to learn that 
this kind of puzzle, called a rebus, has 
been around for centuries and.enjoyed a 
similar burst of popularity in magazines 
over 100 years ago. The earliest rebuses 
included pictures for words or syllables. 
As an example of their antiquity, consider 
the fish as a symbol for Christianity This 
came not from the legend of the loaves 
and the lishes but from a visual pun on the 
initials of the Greek words lesous , 
Christos, Theou 'Y/os, Sorer ("Jesus 
Christ, Son of -God, Savior"). The initials 
spell 'ichthys, Greek for "fish." (The study 
offish is called ichthyology.) Thus, the 
symbolic fish is a rebus of an acronym for 

> difference virtue 

i making misctiief wife 

The oldest puzzles .are riddles, Oedipus 
became the first puzzle solver when he 
saved his own life and prevented the 
destruction oi Thebes by answering the 
Sphinx's riddle, "What walks on four legs 
in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, 
and three legs in the evening?" (8). 

Riddling was once serious business: 
Skill at. posing riddles and at answering 
them was a sign of overall intellectual 
capacity. The inability to solve a riddle 
meant a loss of prestige. The fishermen of 
los gave the following riddle lo Homer: 
"What we caught we threw away, what we 
could not catch we kept" (9). The great 
poet was stumped. It is said that Homer 
was so angered by his inability to solve the 
riddle that he died of pique. 

Another ancient form of wordplay is the 
anagram. Can the letters in your name be 
rearranged to spell any meaningful 
phrases? It was once thought that mystical 
messages were woven into the letters ot 
one's name and that the proper 
rearrangement was a portent of one's 

.destiny When Andre Pujon, a Frenchman, 
realized that his name could be 
transposed into Pendu a~ Rion ("Hanged ai 
Rion"), he became so obsessed that he 
committed murder and the anagram came 
true: He was hanged at Rion, a town in 

A conceptual link between the anagram 
and the person named is considered the 
highest form of the art. After Disraeli 
defeated Gladstone in Parliament, two 
anagrams that seemed to tell the whole 
slory were much talked about. Gladstone 
was transposed to "G. leads.not" and 
Disraeli into "I lead, sir." The most elegant 
descriptive anagram is considered to-be 
Honor est a Nib ("His honor comes from 
the Nile"), for Horatio Nelson. It was made , 
up by an English clergyman after Admiral 
Nelson's victory in Egypt. 

The pseudonyms adopted by writers 
are often anagrams. Thus, Franqois 
Rabelais also wrote under the name 
Alcofribas Nasier. Galileo, Christiaan 
Huygens, and Robert Hooke published 
discoveries under anagrammed names, 
each, apparently, for the same reason: to 
work on further verifications before an 
"official" announcement, while avoiding 
the risk of someone else claiming credit. 
The French poet Arouet, Lj. (lejeune, "the 
younger"), rearranged the letters of his 
name (substituting V for Uand I for J, as 
was the common practice among writers) 
and created the nom de plume by which 
he is known to the world today (10). When 
you have figured it out, try to find the highly 
praised anagrams that have been worked 
out for Florence Nightingale (1 1 ) and the 
words Presbyterian , telegraph , and 
revolution (12-14). 

Hunting for anagrams is easiest when 
you have the letters printed on separate 
squares of paper (Scrabble tiles are 
ideal), and lay them out on a table. 

By comparison with the puzzles 
mentioned, the most popular puzzle form 
in America today— the crossword — is a 
mere child, barely sixty-six years young 
this month, The first crossword puzzle was 
constructed by an editor of Trie New York 
World, Arthur Wynne, who introduced it 
without fanfare on the Fun Page of that 

paper on December 21, 1913. Reader 
reaction was immediate. Crosswords 
swept the country, then the world, Cash 
contests iired the fad, and by 1924 there 
were books, conventions, wrist- 
dictionaries, and cross-checked fashions 
and jewelry, and the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad put dictionaries on all its trains to 
accommodate its cross-crazed 

For an excellent history ol crosswords 
and other old puzzles discussed here, see 
The Puzzler's Paradise, by Helene 
Hovanec (Paddington Press). 

Here it is. The one that started it all. We 
have renumbered the squares according 
to current convention and have added 
clues (in parentheses) for four archaic 
words that may not appear in some 
modern dictionaries. Otherwise, this is 
Wynne's original "word-cross" (15), 
complete with his encouraging word at the 
top to those who might be put off by all 
those boxes. Experienced cruciverbalists 
will find this one a snap (notwithstanding 


2. What bargain hunters enjoy. 
4. A written acknowledgment. 

6. Such and nothing more. 

7. To cultivate. 

10. A bird. 

11. A bar of wood or iron. 

13. Opposed to less. 

14. What artists learn to do. 

15. What this puzzle is. 

17. Fastened. 

18. An animal of prey [sic]: 

20. Found on the seashore. 

21. The close of a day. 

23. To elude. 

24. The plural of is. 


1. To govern. 

F. Part of your head. 

N. A fist. (One born a serf.) 

„2. A talon. (Withered.) 

3. Part of a ship. 

4. A daydream. 

5. Exchanging. 

6. What we all should be. 

8. To sink in mud. 

10. The fiber of the gomuti palm. (Raw 

bread, phonetic.) 

12. A boy 

16. A pigeon. 

17. One. (Scot: past participle of 'take. J 

19. A river in Russia. 

20. To agree with. 

. 22. An aromatic plant. 

1 6. For a variation on the theme, try this 
Poor Man's Crossword, below. 


1. Imitate. 1. Takeby force. 

5. Type of cat. 2. Is indebted. 

6. Manuscript. 3. Vegetables. 

7. Duplicate. 4. Sagacious. 

Finally, here's a message, addressed to 
all Omni readers, that was taped to our 
door by the Omni cryptographer. We're not 
sure what it says. Can you figure it out? 

Em ee are arewye sea aitch are eye ess 
tea em ae ess! (17) Answers on page 128, 


In April Omni announced the 
establishment of a $5,000 prize for a 
computer program that could successfully 
defeat chess master David Levy. We fully 
expect to have to pay the $5,000 
Omni/Levy Prize within the next few years, 
and we'll consider the money well spent. 
The work required to produce a winning 
program, not to mention the also-rans, will 
be worth many times that amount. 

We expect to sponsor more challenge 
prizes, either on our own or by matching 
someone else's offer, along the lines of 
those discussed in the article "Prizes" in 
(his issue (page 108). 

Achievements for which prizes will be * 
offered will be practical, socially or 
scientifically significant, and feasible 
enough so that. they will indeed be won 
within the foreseeable future. But, most 
important, they will be narrowly defined 
and stated clearly enough so that the prize 
cannot be awarded on a technicality that 
is not in the spirit of the offer. 

Each idea must be sufficiently far ahead 
of the current state of the art to preclude 
an easy win before a substantial number 
of competitors have tried and (ailed, yet 
sufficiently within (he realm of the possible 
so that the dream may be expected to be 
realized in our lifetime. 

7"ne Competition: Suggest one area of 
human achievement for which a prize 
should be offered, a scientific 
breakthrough that could use a little nudge. 
We'll consider originality, feasibility, 
importance, and rule tightness— that is, 
the degree to which you specify the 
current slate of the art and define specific 
cutoff criteria In addition, we are 
interested in any outstanding challenge 
prizes not mentioned in the "Prizes" 
article, or any prizes that readers 
themselves care to offer. 

Prizeworthy suggestions must be 
postmarked by January 15, 1980. The 
usual prizes. All entries become the 
property of Omni and will not be returned. 
Send to: Omni Compelition #10; 909 Third 
Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022.DQ 


/ David A. Tarr 

Twas the night before Christmas, 
and all through my home 
Not a creaiu'5 was stirring, not 
even my clone, 

The test tubes were hung by the burnir 

with cars, 
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would 

bi there, 

The androids were nestled all snug In the ir 


While visions of mc s danced in thiir 

My wite in hgr jumpsuit, and I in my vest, 
Had jBft settled down to iornt 
drug-indueed rest, 

When, out by the lab!, there arose itich a 

My bed wake -i& gp to see what was the 


Away te the window I hastened my mass, 
Tore "open the blast shields, and threw up 
the glass, 

The retraction of moon ighi through 

smog-ridden air 
Gave a luster of it, dcay io everything 


When what to my bionlo eyes should 

But a mass-cnvsn sleign with some. 

Itrange landing gear. 

With aquick little pilot, a company man. 
Who did wnat was asked and followed the 

More/ipid than pnantcms his coursers 

they eame. 
He Impulsed his crewmen, then palled 

them by name. 

"Now, Redox! Now. Hewlett! Now, Quasar 

and Photon! 
"On. Used On. Xerox! On, Pulsar and 


"To the top of the dome, by the air-intake 

"Now dash away quickly 

before ourfuei's spent." 

So, up to the air vent his coursers they 

With a craft full of toys and Saint Nicholas, 


And then, in a flash, on the dome I did 

The scratching and scraping of stout 

landing gear 

I steadied my blaster, my chest to the 

And then, through the air vent, he came 
with a bound. 

He was dressed in a three-piece he'd 

rented near here, 
(Why purchase an outfit you wear once a 


A life-support system he wore on his back, 
While the toys for the 'droids he took out of 
his pack, 

A bottle of synthroid he held in his hand 
(He was' quite overweight from a poor 
thyroid gland). 

He brought out the toys that department 

stores sell; 
The elves at the Pole could not make them 

as well,' 

He checked with the base ship, while 

doing his work, 
And filled all the test tubes, then turned 

with a jerk. 

His anti-grav belt was secure, I suppose, 
And, pressing the keys, up the air vent he 

He sprang to his craft, to the crew gave a 

The ship heaved a shudder, then blasted 

them out. 

But I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of 

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good 

flight, "OQ